Let's open our Bibles to the book of Ezekiel. You probably have already done that so let's go ahead and pray.
Heavenly Father, we now pray that though we have a short amount of time to fly over briefly 48 chapters that we would get the sense of how Ezekiel fits into the grand scheme of scripture, a prophetic and historic literature. Lord you have had a lot to say through this man, help us to grasp tonight the core of what He had to say and more than that, what Your spirit has to say to us today, in Jesus name. Amen!
I found it interesting in the little film interview of that gal in Rosswell who was the daughter of the man who found that spacecraft back in the 40s, that she said, there is actually more questions about this subject than answers. Well, tonight we turn to the book of answers, the Bible, where there are more answers about life than there are questions.
I remember when I was a little kid watching My Favorite Martian, all of us talk about aliens reminded me of that show, anybody remember that? My Favorite Martian, remember that cool spaceship that uncle Martin had. I am remembering so enamored with that watching television and later on in life when I was a bad kid in my teenagers, I snucked into MGM studios in Hollywood, it was all locked up, I climbed the fence and got inside and as I opened there -- this is true story, the first thing I saw was a Uncle Martin spaceship and I thought this is so cool and I went up to it and it wasn't really all that cool. It was just spray painted, fiber glass and, I was really disappointed, I don't know why this childhood dream was very shattered and you know when you get up close to a lot of things in life, they are that way. How different that is from the glory of God whatever vision is Ezekiel sees of these strange creatures in Chapter 1 and Chapter 10, moreover all of the images that he gets of the future glory of God when you see it up close, it's going to be even better than all of the words that were used to describe it to you. That's really where the payoff is.
Now, Ezekiel was a priest as well as a prophet, like Jeremiah, Ezekiel was a priest who never, it seems, got to serve in the priesthood because he was taken away, captive from Jerusalem to Babylon.
Now I am going to refresh your memory because this is the Bible from 30,000 feet. Three times that little area of Judah including Jerusalem was besieged by the Babylonians attacked. 605 BC was the first time. On that first attack, a young boy by the name of Daniel and his friends were taken away captive into Babylon.
Some years later, 597 BC, the second attack came and this time Ezekiel, the priest was taken away captive and 11 years later in 586 BC, is when Jerusalem will besiege the third time and it will fall to the Babylonian army.
Ezekiel was a contemporary then, of both Jeremiah and Daniel. So while Ezekiel is in Babylon, where all the captives are by the rivers there, we will read about it, Jeremiah was back in Jerusalem or maybe an old man in Egypt because he was taken to Egypt later, Daniel was serving in the court of Nebuchadnezzar, there is no indication that they knew each other at all; all of them are simultaneously ministering to God's people during this era.
Now something about Ezekiel, if you have read the book, you know. This guy not only gave messages, he play acted them. We call him a Pedagogie in biography, he lived the message, he had to shave his head and his beard to prove a point, he had to play army on one occasion, he had to lie on one side then on the other side, there was all of these things he had to act out in front of a group of people. So he didn't just speak the message, he role played the message so people would really get the idea.
Now there are four words that can sum up the whole book of Ezekiel. I will give you those four words, then I will quickly explain them. Four words sum up the book of Ezekiel. Number one, Commission, Commission. Number two, Correction, number three, Castigation and number four, Restoration.
The first one, is Chapters I through 3, God commissions Ezekiel to be a prophet. He gets a wild vision that we will cover in part and then God gives him the commission to be a spokesperson to the captives in Babylon; Commission.
Number two is, Correction. God sends him to be a spokesman, the spokesperson, a watchman to correct the behavior of Judah and that's Chapter 4 through 24 and he will explain the captivity, he will explain the destruction of Jerusalem, that's God's correction.
Number three is Castigation. All of the surrounding nations around Judah were happy when Judah fell and win away the captivity and so because many of them treated Judah harshly, God will castigate them and punish them as well and then word number four is Restoration, that's the last part of the book, Chapters 33 through 48 is where God promises to restore the Jews back to the land.
So you can see if you have been with us before there are similarities between the message of Ezekiel and the message of Isaiah and Jeremiah, etcetera. God kicked him out of the land, God will bring him back into the land but He has his own unique style.
Chapter 1, verse 1, It came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, note how exact this guy is, one of his trademarks throughout the book is He gives exact dating techniques, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, it's canal where ships would go in between the Tigris and Euphrates river, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
Now what does it mean when it says in the thirtieth year, here is the possibility because we don't exactly know it could mean his thirtieth year, Ezekiel's thirtieth year. He turned 30 perhaps when he was there as a captive in Babylon, why is that significant? Because the priesthood demanded that priest didn't serve until they were 30; from age 30 to 50 they served in the temple.
Here is the point, here is a priest who never got a chance to serve because he was taken out of the land of Judah and the temple was later on destroyed.
It would be very difficult to be groomed for a particular ministry and never get to fulfill that ministry. It would sort of be like if you are 16 years old or tomorrow was your 16th birthday, you have got the permit, tomorrow you are going to go down and get the license.
Tomorrow is the day you have been dreaming of the day when you have your own bona fide driver's license but the night before your 16th birthday, you hear on the news that the government just changes the law, so that you have to now be 18 years old before you can drive. That would be a bummer, if you are 16, actually I think it's a pretty good idea and it would be a great law given the number of accidents that happen none-the-less, you understand how Ezekiel must have felt.
Down in verse 5, I will show from, now he is going to see this vision of God that he mentions in Verse 1, 'Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures, so this world, wind, this fire and this vision; four living creatures. Now get this vision of what you saw. This is was their appearance; they had the faces, they had the likeness of a man and each one had four faces, each one had four wings, their legs were straight, the soles of their feet were like the soles of calf's feet, they sparkled like the color of burnished bronze or glossy brass. The hands of a man were under their wings and on their four sides, and each of the four had faces and wings.
What a wild vision? Now this is a real vision from God, this is not a late night burrito or a pizza dream or a nightmare, this is what He saw and it will be recounted to Him a second time in chapter 10 but in a different location.
Now Chapter 10 tells us exactly what they are. He says, I saw and I note it was the same vision He said, I saw in chapter 1 at back of the river Chebar, he calls them cherubim, cherubim; the special breed or special class of angelic beings that guard the presence of God and guard the access that man has with God.
Now you remember back in the book of Genesis, Chapter 3 it's the first time we read about cherubim after Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden, a couple of cherubim with flaming swords guarded the entrance to the garden of Eden so that Adam and Eve could not go back into the garden and eat up the tree of life and live for ever in their sin. So they were guardians and they were very powerful.
Later on The Ark of the Covenant pictured two cherubim atop the Mercy Seat who wings touched in the middle in fact, the God said, I will meet you the only place on earth, I will meet with you is between the cherubim, on that Mercy Seat where atonement will be made for your sin. Cherubim were also placed on the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy place. So it played a prominent role in Israel's history, the special class of beings that speak of God's glory with his people.
Go down to Verse 9, 'Their wings touched one another, the creature didn't turn when they went but each one went straight forward. '
Now, the Hebrew term for his vision that he saw is called the Merkabah, the Merkabah which means the chariot, this is like God's divine wheels, this is the divine chariot or the mobile throne as how the Hebrews referred o it. This vision in Chapter 1 and Chapter 10, forms the basis for most all of the telmutic mysticism including a whole branch of Judaism called Kabbalah, ever heard of Kabbalah, Madonna is into Kabbalah, kind of her own kind and a lot of other stars are into this mystical cabalistic teaching which at the very core of it has the vision of Ezekiel Chapter 1 and Chapter 10 and all sorts of fanciful explanations as to what this is have been given and even in Judaism in Kabbalah.
I was on a couple of websites today and I noticed I typed in Ezekiel UFO, boy, did I get site after site after site saying he saw UFOs, he had an encounter with alien beings and even draw these things out and try to prove from the Bible that these are aliens, more on that in a moment.
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. So each being has four faces; an eagle, a lion, a man, an ox. Thus were their faces, their wings stretched upward, two wings of each one touched one another and two covered their bodies and each one went straight forward, they went wherever the spirit wanted to go and they didn't not turn when they went.
These are four interesting faces and it could be many theologians tie a couple of threads together that I would like to tie together for you . It could be that what we are getting a glimpse of in part is a model of the throne of God in heaven.
Now, do you remember back in the wilderness, when the children of Israel were called to march on the wilderness march that there were four directions, they camped around the Tabernacle; north, south, east, and west. There were 12 tribes and three tribes gathered to one standard, one emblem of one tribe, three to another three and three so they were 12 tribes divided by four. What's interesting is the emblems of the tribes themselves; on one side toward the east, towards the tribe of Judah, the emblem was a lion. On another was the tribe of Ephraim, and the Ephraim was the ox. On another side was the tribe of Reuben and he had the standard of the man and the other was the tribe of Dan whose standard was the eagle. Same pictorial layout.
Then we come to the New Testament and we find there is not one gospel but there are four gospels and they all have a different emphasis and theologians once again note that Matthew seems to speak of Jesus as the promised king. He speaks of the kingdom of heaven, the Kingdom of God that seems to be the theme of Mathew as if Mathew was writing about here is Jesus fulfilling the kingdom of the Jewess prophecies, he is the lion of the tribe of Judah. You get to the gospel of Mark, it's the shortest of the four gospels and you read words like immediately, and, so, and immediately; you get this idea of constant motion in the gospel of Mark and it pictures Jesus as someone on the go, fulfilling his master's will, the ox, the servant, the servant of God immediately doing all the will of the Father.
You get to the gospel of Luke and you find that Luke has a very different emphasis. He calls Jesus the son of man, more than any of the other gospels. Luke, a gentile physician writes about the perfect humanity of Jesus and then finally you have John who deals with the deity of Jesus Christ, the eagle, the Son of God, again all four are very different facets of the life character and ministry of Jesus. The you get to the book of Revelation and these four living creatures come back again around the throne of God and these four faces.
So it could be that we are dealing with in part, a model; a model of God's throne. Verse 15, Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold a wheel, here comes the flying saucers, He say, a wheel was on the beside each living creature with its four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of barrel, kind of a blazing amber color and all the four had the same likeness, the appearance of their workings was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.
Now because of that Verse, and this whole vision actually, but especially these wheels, some identify the vision of Ezekiel as Ezekiel saw in the Old Testament a UFO sighting, based on this.
Now I don't quite get that but some do that. There is an estimated 14% of Americans who believe in UFO or who say they have sighted UFOs, 14% said they have actually seen UFOs. Now before you go, well that's a lot of proof to me, keep in mind that it's about the same number about 14, 15% believe they have seen Elvis sightings as well. So I just want to keep that a little bit in perspective.
Ezekiel doesn't guess what they are. Ezekiel knows what they are as I said in Chapter 10, time after time, He calls them cherubim, the special blend or brand of angels that deal with the glory and the presence of the God, that will be in Chapter 10 which we won't cover tonight.
Second, this is not alien power, this is cherub power. It's not like a 500 horse power engine, this is just a four cherub power vehicle, and it has incredible capability but again this is that special class of angel verse 18, As for their rims, check this out God has mags 'as for the rims, they were so high, they were awesome', you kind of see spinners, don't you? Wow! It's cool and their rims were full of eyes, these are very different from any other wheels you have ever seen. All around the four of them, now eyes in-scripture often depict intelligence and probably here omniscient amnations being able to see and know all.
When the living creatures went the wheels went beside them; when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up; where ever the spirit wanted to go, they went because there the spirit went and the wheels were lifted together with them, the spirit of the living creatures, get this, the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
Now up to this point, Ezekiel is really just been looking under the hood, the last part of the chapter, he is checking out the chassis and the body and basically in verse 28, he says, it was the appearance of glory of God, this was God's glory that he saw Ezekiel says which takes us in the Chapter 2 as part of his commissioning and he said to me, son of man stand on your feet and I will speak to you. Now you see that little phrase, son of man, that's one of the hallmarks of Ezekiel's writings. A hundred times in this book, the phrase in reference to Ezekiel has used son of man, son of man, son of man. It's a Hebrewic phrase that emphasizes man's mortality. It's as if God is saying Ezekiel, guess what, I am God, you are not. Hey Israel, Judah, I am God, you are not.
No matter how much stature a person has intellectually, physically, spiritually, they are still flesh. That which is flesh is flesh, Ezekiel is a Godly person, he has an incredible vision like Isaiah who had an incredible visions but they are just people. Keep this in mind. This is why we don't worship Peter or Calvin or Mary or any other person, we worship God only because God would say to them, Son of man, emphasizes their humanity, their mortality and their mode of nature.
Verse 2, 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 and their fathers have transgressed against Me, to this very day. So He is called to speak to the captives who are now in Babylon and Chapter 3 is His commissioning but notice this before we get into Chapter 3, the spirit entered me when He spoke to me.
Now this one will explain how Ezekiel could make it through his ministry. How could he lie in a side 430 days? How could he say what he said amidst all of the times, all of the rejection, all of the hardships? Only by the Holy Spirit entering him, infusing him, and empowering him to do this. There is no way he could have done it on his own. He is the son of man, a mirror model but indwelt by the spirit of God. So it becomes a powerful tool.
Something else I want to point out. Notice in Verse 3, that God's people are called here a rebellious nation, it's a very unusual term. He is referring to the Jewish people of Judah who are now in captivity but he calls them a rebellious nation, here's what's weird about that. The word for nation in Hebrew is Goy. Are You familiar with that term? Goy, gentile, Hagoyim is the Hebrew word Hagoyim, the gentile nations, Hagoyim. God is referring to his Jewish people in the same way that he would refer to Pagan peoples, usually it's a term that is set in contrast to his people. You've got Hagoyim, the nations and then you got his people, the Jews. Here God says, you are acting just like them, basically, you are no different in your activity, in your idolatry than Hagoyim, so He calls a rebellious nation.
Chapter 3, Verse 1, Moreover he said to me, Son of man, eat what you find; for some people that's not a hard command to keep but this is what he has to eat; 'eat this scroll, and go speak to the house of Israel'. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat the scroll. There is only other guy in the Bible has told to eat a scroll, what's his name? John, book of Revelation.
Here Ezekiel is going to eat something that's sweet at first but then turns sour, in the stomach, the opposite reaction, the John will have in the book of Revelation. But here is the point I believe. Anybody who is a spokesperson for the truth, man or woman, preacher or lay person, must first internalize that truth in their own life. You can't just speak it forth. Although we are not perfect where to internalized, where to apply the truth in our own lives, where to swallow the book? .
Jeremiah, I think it's Chapter 15, Your words were found and I did eat them and they were the joy and rejoicing of my heart said that prophet.
Verse 17 of Chapter 3, Son of man, I am just giving you highlights now, Son of man, I made you. Here's His commissioning, I made you a watchman for the house of Israel, therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me.
Now as you can imagine, a watchman in ancient times was absolutely essential for the survival of the city. Cities are very different today than they were back then. Cities back then had walls around them and watchman on the walls because you know, those cities were always being looked at by other nations and being -- at least, they try to take them prisoner, captive, it was on-going battle, so the walls meant protection. We don't have that problem today, you know, we don't -- we are not worried about an Arizona invasion into New Mexico but back then they were always worried about invaders, Texas maybe we are sort of worried about invasion from Texas but we are not worried about some of the other states but back in those days, the watchman had to be on the walls during the night and there were three watches of the night and that was from sunset to midnight, that was the first watch and somebody had that shift. The second group was from midnight to 3 in the morning and the third shift was from 3 in the morning till sunrise. Those three shifts watchman had to be out and look in the shadows and hear and report is if they saw anything weird like the enemy who would typically attack at night.
God calls Ezekiel a watchman. Now he is a priest and a prophet, why does he call him a watchman? I think the word watchman sums up what a prophet really is. Did you know that the original term for a prophet was not a prophet but a seer, a seer. 1st Samuel Chapter 9, the prophet Samuel is called the seer, For Sameul Chapter 9, Prohet Samuel the seer. Roe is the Hebrew word. He sees visions of what God wants. Later on they became known under the Hebrew term Nebi, that means prophet, spokesperson, one who can speak a message from God.
Both of those descriptions fit nicely into the better description of a watchman. Somebody who can see God's perspective and declare it to the people with power, a watchman. Always on the watch for what God is doing, what God is saying and able to communicate that for the people. So Ezekiel does that. Now in Chapter 4 through 24 he predicts the siege of Judah. Look at Chapter 4:1, "You also son of man," now watch this, here is what God tells him, here this is action. He is not just going to speak, He is going to demonstrate. "You also, son of man, take a clay tablet," and they found in archeology many such clay tablets on the Babylonian plains where cuneiform writing was placed and their messages were exchanged from one leader to another.
So he used to take a clay tablet. "Lay it before you and portray or draw on it a city, Jerusalem." So, got there to take a clay tablet, draw a picture of City of Jerusalem and this God says "Lay siege against it, build a siege wall against it, keep up a mound against it, set camps against it also and place battering rams against it all around."
Men do you remember playing Army when you grew up? Ezekiel the Prophet gets to play Army. You can make a little men out there and cool, little wooden implements and -- can you just hear him and see him -- guys make a lot of sounds like that. They did a study, the difference between boys and girls and girls will describe something to you, boys will give you the sound of it. And I can imagine this little prophet or young man, 30 year old guy out there portraying, playing Army for those who would be watching him because that's what God would do to the City.
Verse 4, the Lord say "lie on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it. According to the number of the days that you would 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." Or 430 days to depict 430 years. Now probably, he would lie on this side, maybe left side first facing the north because that's where the Assyrians came out of to attack the Northern Kingdom of Israel, you remember, 722 B.C. Then He would lie on his other side facing south because that represented Judah and the attackers of Babylon had taken that.
Now that's a tough job. You say it's sounds kind of easy to me, just lying around all day. Yeah but on the same side 430 days, mostly on one side than one another. Does it mean he did a 24 hours a day? Probably not. There was probably a period of time when the people are out and about and everyday He would lay on his side for a specific period of time to give a message to the people, of God laying upon the nation punishment for their iniquity.
Verse 12, it gets worse, if you think being a prophet is easy watch this. "And you shall eat it as barley cake," the meal was prepared "And bake it using fuel of human waste in their sight." I don't have to explain that. I think you get the idea. Then the Lord says "So shall the children of Israel eat their defile bread among the gentiles, where I will drive them'. If you think being a Prophet is an easy job, think again. Bake your bread using human waste God says. Now watch the reaction. So I said, Ah! Lord God, he is a Kosher kid, he is a priest. This is so defiling, he cant even imagine that Ah! Lord, God, indeed I have never defiled myself from my youth until now, I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beast, nor has abominable flesh ever come into my mouth. Now why is this going on? God is going to picture for him and for them how desperate it will be in 586 B.C. There are already captives but for the people in Jerusalem, how desperate it's going to be in that city when Jerusalem is under siege.
This is not unlike Peter's reaction, when he sees a vision let down from heaven, a sheet with unkosher animals, remember the story in the book of Axe. And God says, Peter get up and eat that stuff. And Peter being the obedient complaint kid, said "not so Lord. I have never eaten anything uncommon or common or unclean". He just couldn't imagine that, Verse:15 then he said to see I am giving you cow dung, instead of human waste and you shall prepare your bread over it. So God understands his dilemma, his heart is bound for purity and so God makes a concession. He can cook over like cow chips. It's a kind move to do that, God giving him this concession.
Now this is not unheard of to this day, the Bedouin Arabs, where there is scarcity of wood to cook, will use animal waste to cook and prepare their meal, the idea is the siege in Jerusalem would be difficult.
Now look at Chapter 6, it's further described, verse:7 and again I am just giving you highlights, Verse:7, I am drawing your attention here on this Verse to one of the most significant things in the book, "The slane shall fall in your midst and you shall know that I am the Lord". You see that last part and you shall know that I am the Lord. If you have read through the book of Ezekiel, you know that phrase occurs a lot 60 times in the book. God says, I am going to do that, so when I do it you will know I am the Lord. Now I am going to do that, and when I do that you are going to know I am the Lord. And when all that happens you are going to know I am the Lord, he keeps repeating that.
So we understand the theme, a thread that runs through the book. God is unique, God is Holy, God is different and because God is all that, God can make demand on his creation. If you were to just look at the temple in Jerusalem, very same kind of a message. On one hand the temple in Jerusalem speaks of the approach to God. You can go to God, there's a way where by which you can approach God, animal sacrifice, going to the courts, go to the priest, the sacrificial system and go on worship. On the other hand it speaks of separation. There is accord for gentiles, accord for men, accord for women, accord for priest. You cant just cross over in your own freewill anytime, or you could be killed. So it speaks of the uniqueness and the holiness. Israel had forgotten this and here is the reason folks for 70 years of captivity, not just to give the land rest, as we have already talked about. But to let them know I am the Lord, you have forgotten that fact, you worship idols. It's a lesson by the way, don't ever forget.
In fact I would say the captivity worked. The spanking worked, it did it's job. When they come back after 70 years they will never again fall into the gross kind of idolitary they did before the captivity. So God says this is why you are going to learn this lesson. You will know that I am the Lord. In Chapters 25 through 32, up to Chapter 24 it's all about correction, remember and there's enough we have already covered about that in previous prophecies, I am not going to belabor it. Jeremiah has the same material, Isaiah has the same material.
So up to Chapter 24 he is talking about correction, correction, correction that you may know that I am the Lord, that you may know that I am Lord. Now Chapters 25 through32, God's dealing with outside the boundary of Judah to all the other nations, Moab, Edom, Tyre, et cetera. God is going to judge them. This is the castigation of surrounding nations.
I want to draw your attention to one particular city because it's a very important scripture, Chapter 28, turn over Chapter 28 God predicts the fall of Tyre, but it's really weird. If you think Chapter 1 is weird, this gets sort of right around the same plane because there is the segue here. I don't you to miss the segue where God through the Prophet Ezekiel is dealing with an earthly ruler of Tyre and then goes into a spiritual segue of a spiritual ruler and the description could not fit any human ruler, that's a prophecy in Chapter 28, Verse:1, the word of the Lord came to me again saying "Son of man, say to the Prince of Tyre". Keep in mind God is going through all of these nations, the Philistines, the Edomites, the Moabites and pronouncing judgment on them. He gets to Tyre He speaks to the Prince of Tyre that says the Lord God because your heart is lifted up, that's pride and you say I am a God, I sit in the seat of Gods in the midst of the seas, yet you are a man and not a God though you set your heart as the heart of a God.
You see the word, verse:2 Prince, the Hebrew word is nagid. It means ruler. It means the man at the top, the man at the top the ruler, nagid. This is the Hebrew word, the man at the top. We know who that was. Flavius, Josephus tells us his name. The Prince of tyre was a guy named Ethbaal. Ethbaal was the Prince of Tyre during this era of the prediction and he ruled from 590 to 572 B.C, very proud man. Proud because of the wealth, his own personal wealth, the wealth of the city, the power of the city and the location of the city. Tyre at that time was on a little rocky Island just off the coast, they thought to be impregnable, they thought to be the favorite Island of Hercules. So here's a prideful King, a prideful nation it's the perfect, the perfect earthly model of a spiritual example called Satan. There's the safe way, look at Verse:11. Moreover the word of the Lord came to me saying, "Son of man, take up a lamentation for the King of Tyre and say to him thus says the Lord God, you were the seal of perfection full of wisdom and perfect in beauty", now he uses an entirely different word. He doesn't use the Nagid, Prince, ruler, man at the top. He uses the term maleh which is Hebrew for King.
However, Ezekiel uses the term Maleh very sparingly. In fact Ezekiel never calls any of the Kings of Judah, Maleh, except for one that's Johoiachin that's Chapter 1, Verse:2. He is the only one he calls the name Maleh he uses the term very sparingly. Now the following description of this King of Tyre. We know who the Prince Ethbaal, there was no King of Tyre at the time.
The following description of the King of Tyre cannot fit any earthly ruler. Look at Verse:13, you were in Eden the garden of God. Do you think any of the Princess of Tyre lived in the garden of Eden? Do you think there was any earthly ruler, if this could be said of human person, you will accept for Adam and Eve. You were in Eden the garden of God, every precious stone was your covering. The Sardius Topaz, the Diamond, the Beryl, the onyx, the Jasper, the Sapphire, the Turquoise, the Emerald with gold, the workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. We are getting a picture of a very special kind of being, not a human ruler not a human at all, but somebody who lived in the garden of Eden who was decked out with nine of the twelve stones that were on the priestly high breastplate and he was created. He gave a special creation, Verse:14 identify, and see this is -- "You were the anointed cherub or angelic being who covers, you were the angelic guardian. I established you, you were on the holy mountain of God, you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. Cherubim were that inner circle, they were guardians of the glory of God. They were sort of like the angelic form of secret service or F.B.I, these were the F.B.I angles. These were the secrets service angels and we have already seen Ezekiel saw four of these beings caring this Merkabah, this chariot. But this being, that God is talking to here stood to guard the throne, you were the anointed chariot who covers, you were Numero Uno minus Uno. That's what bothered him and Isaiah 14 gives another description of his fall of Satan saying "I will exalt myself above the stars of God", look at Verse:15 here "You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created until iniquity was found in you", the word perfect is a Hebrew word tamin, that means you were undefiled, you were blameless but notice this, until iniquity was found. It is one of the saddest words in the Bible. That's one of the saddest sentences in the Bible, until iniquity was found in you, because when iniquity was found in Him, that's when all the bad stuff happened, that's when Satan was casted out of God's presence, took a third of the angels with Him, cast them to the earth, Revelation 12 tells us and then we see what he did to Adam and Eve in the garden and what he has done around the world ever since, you say, I don't believe in the devil. Well somebody is doing his business. I love what Dwight L Moody used to say, " I believe in the devil because I have done business with him" and I have a hunch, you have too. So the fall begins here. Now understand this, God did not create Satan as the prime minister of evil, he became that. When he by his own free will fell, Verse:15,till iniquity was found in you, Verse:16 you sinned God says to the same being, verse:17, " Your heart was lifted up", that's when the fall happened. Remember what Jesus said in Luke Chapter10, listen to what Jesus said, He was there when all those happened he said "I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning", that quick and he was out of God's presence vanished forever, but look how he is pictured, beautiful.
There is no description here of a guy with the red suit and little horns and a pitchfork and a pointed tail. You know where that comes from by the way? Not the Bible. It comes from the mid evil depictions of Satan who used the Greek mythology of the God Bacchus or the Greek God pan who was half goat on the bottom with clowen hoves and a pointed tail and all of that mythology was created and ecrypt into the church but the Bible depicts Satan as a very beautiful being. In fact, in Isaiah 14 when we see Satan we are going to go, that's the guy that caused all the problems. You are kidding, he might look like a little wimp or something, a beautiful wimp but none the less, like you are kidding, that guy created such havoc on the earth.
Now from Chapters 33 through 48 deals with that final fourth word restoration and this is the restoration of Israel, the rest of the book is devoted to that. And here's how the chapters flow. The first part of these chapters in Chapter 33-34, go from the false shepherds these bad rulers of Israel who didn't feed the flock, who didn't teach the flock the knowledge of God and it segues from the false shepherds to the one true shepherds who is Christ, who is coming. Now, by the way we don't have time to cover them but the last nine chapters of the book, the last nine chapters are specifically devoted to a detailed description of the millennial Kingdom of Christ in Judah and Jerusalem with the building of the temple etcetera, that's chapters 40 through 48.
Now, I am going to read something to you, go to Chapter 36 because God makes a promise that has three parts. Now here is the parts, here's the promise, "Israel will be regathered to their land", remember that kicked out at this point "They will be regathered to their land". Okay the first time was after the captivity, Isaiah said in Chapter 11, you will be regathered twice, one time and then the second time. They will be regathered to their land number one. Number two God will regenerate their hearts and spiritual awakening that has not happened yet by the way. And then the third part of the promise has got, we will reestablish his Kingdom. And those were the final nine chapters. Chapter36, Verse:23 is the promise of their regathering, "I will sanctify my great name, God is speaking, which has been profaned among the nations which you have profaned in their midst and the nations shall know that I am the Lord", says the Lord God "When I am hollowed in you before their eyes, for I will take you from among the nations and gather you out of all the countries and bring you into your own land"
I am going to read something to you, from encyclopedia Britannica, this is not a modern addition, it's a 1911 edition, a 1911 edition but this is the revered Encyclopedia Britannica, interesting comment. "The possibility that we can ever again recover the correct pronunciation of ancient Hebrew is as remote a possibility as that of a Jewish nation or Jewish Empire that will ever again be established in the middle east", isn't that quite a statement? If you go to Israel today you discover two things, number one they speak Hebrew, they speak a version of the revived ancient Hebrew and number two, they are speaking it in a place known as Israel the state of Israel that has been re-established since May 14th 1948.
So see even Encyclopedia can be wrong. Go down to Verse:25 the second part of the promise Israel has to be regenerated, notice the language of the priest that is used here, then I will sprinkle clean water on you and you shall be clean. I will cleanse you from all your filthiness, from all your idols, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh or a new nature that will overcome the old nature, I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and you will keep my judgments and do them. You see the word sprinkle, that's the language of the priest. In the rights of purification the priest would sprinkle houses, dwelling places, sprinkle vessels for worship, sprinkle the people so that they would be cleansed. It's a prediction I believe of Messiah who will do the Priestly work of cleansing the nation by his own suffering on the Cross.
The Cross is predicted here, the Messiah is predicted here. God promises to cleanse Israel from their defilement. This is the nation that lost its temple, that lost it's ability to atone for their own sins. God says I will provide atonement for you, sprinkle the same word Isaiah used. Isaiah 52, a prediction of the Messiah and he shall sprinkle many nations not just Israel. Salvations isn't just for the Jews, for the whole world for many nations. John the baptist looked to Jesus and said, "behold or check it out, look the lamp of God which takes away the sin of the world". The prediction of atonement. Chapter 37 is an illustration of Chapter 36, that's basically all it is. Chapter 36 is the declaration or regather you or regenerate you, we are still waiting for that, and I will re-establish the Kingdom that's the last part of the book. Chapter37 is an illustration here's just a few verse. Verse:1, "The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the midst of the valley", literally battle field, it was full of bones and it caused me to pass by them all around and behold, there were very many in the open valley and indeed they were very dry. This is dead nation, their capital have been destroyed, the people have been dispersed, they were dead in their dispersion and destruction.
Again He said to me verse:4, prophesize to these bones and say to them here's the vision, he has to go speak to a bunch of dead bones and say to them, "oh, dry bones here the word of the lord," probably get more response out of them than a lot of the people he was preaching to.
In fact he did. Verse 5 and that says the "Lord, God to these bones surely I will cause breath to enter you Hebrew word is ruach, wind spirit same word. I will enter I will cause the spirit to enter you Ruach Ha Kodesh the Hebrew word for Holy Spirit. I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live.
So Chapter 37 is the illustration of the declaration made in Chapter 36 that great army that comes together in that Chapter. Now Chapter 38 and 39 describe an invasion of Israel and the defeat of those who invade Israel in the last days. Chapter 39 is cleanup that occurs afterwards.
Now I believe, no, I know just from reading these Chapters, that these events Chapter 38 and 39 will occur after the events in 36 and 37, after Israel's regather to their land which they are today, but before the Millennial Kingdom Chapter 40 to 48, this war of Gog and Magog against Israel will occur.
Now some believe this is battle of Armageddon, that this happens during the tribulation period. I don't necessarily believe that I think that this actually could be before Daniel 70th week. In fact it could give some people an explanation as to what happened the rupture and it could then lead to and precipitate later on in the tribulation period Armageddon. We don't have time to unravel all that tonight.
Verse 1, Chapter 38, the word of Lord came to me saying "Son of man, set your face against Gog" the word means the leader that's what Gog means the leader, "set your face against the leader Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him" now these are old titles in fact these titles come to us in Genesis Chapter 10 that's where they are extracted from.
The same titles in Genesis 10 is called the Table of Nations, but we have a little of help from historians like Herodotus, Hesiod, Josephus they tell us exactly what we are dealing with here. This is those from the far north, the area of modern Russia and her allies, those in the far north, Verse 5 Persia that's Iran actually part of Iraq and Iran. Ethiopia it's ancient Kush one of the tributaries of the Nile river that borders that and Libya in North America are with them and all of them with shield and helmet. Verse 6 Gomer that's East Germany and Poland all of it's troupes, the house of Togarmah that's Baltic States. And far north and all it's troupes and many people are with you, now get this, when Ezekiel wrote these words there was absolutely, no connection no ties at all between any of these nations together, but there is something today that ties all of these nations together. They are all haters of Israel as a nation, national Israel Zionism and mostly pro-Islam. It's interesting that it would seem that these prophesies could not have been fulfilled until we have the modern phenomenon that we have today, that brings all of these nations.
Now a lot of you already know that Vladimir Putin has made strong political and economic ties with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad say that ten times real fast of Iran and they are forming a consortium together and it seems to be against Israel, very, very interesting Chapter 39 "God will destroy the nations that are in that attack." And here is the point I want to make. This is usually the point people forget, Chapter 36 got promises "I will regather you in the land but then I will put my spirit within you I will regenerate you." The battle of Gog and Magog and these other states, other nations is the catalyst that will turn Israel's heart back to God, they will see God powerfully defeated our enemies like in biblical times. That is what will turn their hearts back to God and turn many of them to receive the Messiah.
Now Chapter 40 to 48, we don't have time to go through deals in detail with the millennium, a whole new temple will be built after Herod's Temple. There is no temple there today, there will be a rebuild temple during the millennium. The reorganization of national life during the 1000 year reign is also mentioned.
Chapters 47 and 48, very simple the land is divided but get this, a river flows out of this temple that will be rebuilt during the millennium goes eastward flows downward to the Dead Sea, you know sea is dead because, it's dead nothing living in it. It's like 10 25, 20% saline and so nothing lives in it. But look at this Chapter Verse 47:8 "Then said he to me, This waters flows toward the eastern region goes down, valley and enters the sea: when it reaches sea its waters are healed." "It shall be that every living creature that moves wherever the rivers go will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish because these waters go there. For they will healed and everything will live wherever the river goes." "It shall be that fisherman will stand by it from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim, if you have been to trip to Israel, you have been to En-gedi. Kunran is probably En-eglaim, there will be fisherman up and down the coast. You guys are the fisherman, one day you are going to be fishing over there at En-gedi.
In the Dead Sea and catch whoppers, the waters are going to be healed. I want to do that I am not great fisherman, but I want to go with the guys who know what lures to use. There will be places for spreading up nets. Their fish will be of the same kind as the fish of the Great Sea as the Mediterranean sea, exceedingly many.
Chapter 48 are the tribal allotments. The tribes of Israel regathered and alloted land in a new way. Look at Verse 35 last Verse of the book "All the way around that's the City of Jerusalem shall be 18,000 cubic and it's 6 mile parameter of the Old City and the name of this city is from that day shall be, now what's the name of the city now? Jerusalem, that's what we are dealing with. Jerusalem it's going to get a new name back then.
The name of the city will be the Lord is there. You won't say Jerusalem you will call it Yahweh Shammah. That's the name of new city. Yahweh Shammah. The Lord is there that's the great truth as the book closes. God will be there by the way. It's the same end of the book of Revelation.
Now, get this really briefly. After the thousand year Millennial reign of Christ on the earth. After that it will be great white throne judgment. After that it will be the eternal state, the earth will be obliterated. Obliterated God will make a new heaven, a new earth and a new City Jerusalem, that comes out of the heavens toward the earth.
There won't be a temple there in the eternity there won't be a temple for a thousand years there will be after that there won't be, Revelation 21:22, but "I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are it's temple." Here is the best ride ever. The best ride ever. The best ride ever is in that Merkabah, though that would be very cool and maybe one day that will be like the family car you can take it around the universe and the best ride ever is in the car whose keys I have up here, the best ride ever is a life surrendered to Christ Who will take you from earth to heaven to the millennium and to the new heaven, new earth, new Jerusalem, eternal state you have got a ride ahead of you. That's exciting some of that we are learning on Sunday morning. Let's pray.
Heavenly Father, this man Ezekiel living in his day and age, a day of idolatry and at the same time a day of desperation as the people were in such depression over being taken from their homes, the chosen people, the land of promise being judged and there being taken their property values plummeting completely losing everything and that You promise to bring them back. And You promise to be present, to be present with Your people forever.
Lord just as Ezekiel needed the spirit living in him empowering him so to Lord we need Your Holy Spirit to live in this day, in this age and this city among these people and I pray that we would be faithful witnesses and faithful stewards of our time. We would in our lives reflect the glory of God and by our lives lead many others into the kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven. Help us like Ezekiel to be a comfort to those who are in captivity and to draw them out from their captivity into relationship with You in Jesus name. Amen!