Introduction to Ezekiel: For many Christians, Ezekiel is an ignored Book from the Old Testament. Little is known beyond his mysterious vision of God’s chariot throne, with its wheels within wheels, and the vision of the valley of dry bones. Much of Ezekiel’s language is repetitive which can make for tiresome reading, but it helps to highlight his recurrent themes. Ezekiel began ministering in 593 B.C. at age 30 and his last prophecy came in 571 B.C at age 52. His wife died during the course of his ministry, but there is no mention of having children. There are no records of Ezekiel’s life outside this book, so we have no information about his death. Jeremiah, Daniel, and Zechariah were contemporaries of Ezekiel and ministered during or after the Babylonian exile. Ezekiel ministered during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon from 605-562 B.C. He was about 20 years younger than Jeremiah. Both took a lone stand for the truth – Jeremiah in Jerusalem and Ezekiel in Babylon during captivity. They both proclaimed that the future of Israel lay with the exiles and not with those left behind in Jerusalem. Daniel went into Babylonian captivity in 605 B.C. when he was a teenager so he would have been close to Ezekiel in age. Ezekiel, along with 10,000 Jews, went to Babylon as a captive during Nebuchadnezzar’s second deportation of Jerusalemites in 597 B.C. along with many of the leading men of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar also took most of the craftsmen to Babylon leaving only the poorest of the people behind in the land. Ezekiel ministered to the Jewish exiles who had settled at Tel-abib (Tel Aviv today) and would have major impact on history for generations to come. Life among the Jewish exiles was not harsh. They enjoyed much freedom, were able to own homes, pursued business ventures and personal interests, and organized their own communities. Babylon was famous for its luxurious wealth and its excessive idolatry all of which must have rubbed off onto the exiled Jews because most of them chose to remain where they were when Cyrus freed them in 538 BC.

Ezekiel’s purpose was twofold:

(1) To remind them of the sins which had brought judgment and exile upon them,
(2) To encourage and strengthen their faith by prophecies of future restoration and glory.

His strategy was to convince the people of their utter unworthiness of any consideration from God, in order to shame them into true repentance. The prophecies are arranged in the most consistent chronological order than any other Book of the Prophets. Ezekiel’s prophecies are difficult for theologians to completely comprehend which may also be a reason why this OT Book is neglected by so many believers. It is my hope that the Holy Spirit will show us some things from His Word that can help us in our walks with Him.

Ezekiel 1 – Alien Theories Neglect God’s Word

This is one exciting start to a book! Ezekiel sees a vision from God. He describes it in great detail. There is brightness, flashes of light, metallic glows, noise, movement, a wheel within a wheel, and four mysterious figures that were alive. Although these figures had human form, three of them resembled certain animals – a lion, an ox, and an eagle. Many theologians believe these were the spirits that would inspire the Gospel accounts. Matthew portrays the kingship of Christ (Lion, key verse = 2:2), Mark emphasizes the servanthood of Christ (ox, key verse = 10:45), Luke the humanity of Christ (man, key verse = 19:10), and John the deity of Christ (eagle, key verse = 20:31). Revelation 4:7 seems to strongly support this idea, although a calf is mentioned rather than an ox.

Modern controversy – Ever since Erich Von Daniken produced the movie “Chariots of the Gods” in 1970, people are beginning to believe that all Ezekiel saw here was a UFO and aliens rather than something supernatural. The History Channel has jumped on his theories and have brought more “evidence” to support their claims that aliens have created our DNA and are monitoring our progress perhaps as part of an experiment gone bad or a major part in their future breeding. If so, then all their “breeds” have died! That doesn’t sound like a feasible theory if aliens are super intelligent. These programs present only parts of the Biblical accounts that make their ideas look credible. They never offer theories on who designed all the other diverse life forms on this planet. They never deal with the fact that “their alien creators” never tell us what we are supposed to be doing. The God of the Bible does tell us these things. Alien theorists have spent much time describing what Ezekiel saw, all peppered with their interpretations. They always omit, however, things that do not make sense to their thinking. In this case, they totally neglect to describe what Ezekiel saw ABOVE the supposed UFO. He saw something that looked like a throne with a man (not a “grey”) sitting on it, radiating with light. Ezekiel says it was the “glory of the Lord” and he proceeded to fall on his face. Then he heard a voice that would give him specific instructions!

Anytime God speaks to humans in the Biblical records, the content is good, never evil. So if God (and His angels) are nothing more than aliens with higher intelligence than humans (which I DO NOT believe), then should we not obey the messages?! But this is NEVER the message promoted by these programs. They will not comment on what God said to prophets. The spirit behind these people is to get people away from the belief in an all-powerful, all-loving, great sacrificing Creator…Someone who is worthy of worship.

To UFO believers, “god” is no more worthy of being worshiped than a stone. Their hope is that we evolve enough to be as smart as they are some day. Wow, maybe that’s a nice thought for humans of a far in the future time (assuming we evolve at all), but that does not speak well for the millions of people who have died and those who are alive now (since we still die and are not as smart as we think). Do not be taken in by this End-Time deception. God promises those who have been born-again in Christ “instant evolution” when we are saved and later resurrected in new bodies, and are seated with Christ forever! Earthly evolution does not wrought the change that humans really need. Our problem is not lack of knowledge, lack of technology, or IQ level. God’s “instant evolution” does the necessary “surgery” needed in order to live on in His planned ages to come where evil no longer exists.

Ezekiel 2 – So after experiencing that fantastic vision, the Spirit of that vision actually enters into Ezekiel as he hears the voice. This enabled him to stand up after falling on his face. God tells him He is sending him to the people of Israel even though they are rebellious, stubborn, and obstinate. God realizes that even if the people refuse to listen, they will at least know that there is a prophet of God among them. Ezekiel is told not to fear them or their words, or even be dismayed by their presence. Ezekiel is then commanded to open his mouth and eat the scroll that the Spirit gives him. It contained lamentations, mourning, and woe.

Ezekiel 3 – The scroll tasted sweet and he is sent to the Jews who should listen but will not. God makes Ezekiel’s face and forehead as hard as the people he is addressing (probably so he will not fear them or be dismayed in their presence). God tells him to take His Words into his heart and go to the exiled Jews. Then the Spirit lifted him upward and he heard a great rumbling sound of praise to God behind him. Those four living beings were active again. The Spirit took him away while he was angry and bitter about the situation and he was placed among the exiles. He sat there 7 days, then the Word of the Lord came to him. Ezekiel had to warn people about the coming judgment of God. If he did not, blood would be upon his hands for he was appointed as a watchman over Israel by the Most High. Then God sent him out to a plain and he sees a similar vision of God’s glory and falls on his face again. Again, the Spirit enters him and he stood up. He was ordered to shut himself up in his house. The Jews would soon bind him in rope preventing him to go out and speak to the people. God would also prevent him from speaking until the right time.

Applications for Today:

1) Fear of man is a problem for us all. Although we are told not to fear, we do. Notice in Ezekiel’s case that it was God that made him not to fear the Jews. Today, we need to depend on God rather than ourselves to not fear man. So how do we not fear? We press into God in prayer and ask Him to fill us with that Holy Spirit that will enable us not to fear. We must demonstrate total dependence on Him (John 15:5). How will we really know that God does this? We will not even be dismayed by the presence of those who are against us.
2) God is always just. Even though He knows the Jews’ inner character which will prevent them from heeding His Word, He will still deliver it to them. In this way no one can complain on Judgment Day that they did not know what God wanted.
3) God may give us the ability to do something, but it still must be done in His timing. Ezekiel had to sit for 7 days (with those strong emotions) doing nothing but existing AFTER God equipped him to do a job. That is difficult to do, but does demonstrate once again our dependence upon Him rather than striving ourselves to do His will.

Ezekiel 4 – God gives Ezekiel many instructions in order to have him mimic what will happen to Jerusalem soon. Part of this portrayal included him laying on his right side for 390 days (each day symbolized a year of Israel’s sin) and his left side for 40 days (a day for each year of reality). God also put ropes around him to prevent him from changing sides and restricted what he was to eat and drink during this time. All of this was symbolic of the physical hardships awaiting Israel. Their real experience will be appalling and they will waste away in their sin.

Ezekiel 5 – God has placed Jerusalem at the center of the nations, so when the Jews turn thoroughly evil, their punishment will be clearly seen by those other nations. The Jews will have more turmoil than those other nations during this time. What God is about to do, He has never done in the past nor will He ever do again. One-third will die of plague or famine (cannibalism will emerge), one-third will die from the sword, and the other third will be scattered from Israel.

Ezekiel 6 – More judgments of destruction all for the purpose of making God known to His people and other nations. The remnant that He spares will eventually hate their sin and come back to God, but that won’t happen for a while. It becomes interesting to attempt to see God’s whole picture from His point of view. If He just shows Himself to the people of earth, they will perish immediately because of sin. So He chooses to work through individuals and circumstances, including evil and rebellious behaviors. The overall purpose of His actions is to let people know who He is so they can repent of their sin and have eternal life. All the critics and skeptics can perceive is that He is cruel. If a person is willing to repent and obey God, he/she will perceive a merciful God. And obedience entails good things not evil things. It all depends on what is going on in the human heart whether or not people will obey. If a group of people have gone totally bad, they tend to serve as “cancerous cells” to others. God’s people, the Jews, on many occasions began to act like their pagan neighbors. So, I believe as a last resort, God had to eliminate those evil people just like a cancer doctor will kill malignant cells in order to preserve the life of the person with the cancer problem. I think God’s priority at this time in history was to preserve a people that would bring about the Messiah so that an eternal, righteous kingdom could be established for mankind. God always sees the big picture. People do not. So let the critics rage against the God of the Bible. They are the blind leading the blind and have little or no concern about righteousness or eternity. If you know someone like this, do not hate them. Rather pray for their heart so that God may grant them repentance and pray that their words will have no negative affect on others.

Ezekiel 7 – More judgments against the Jews by God. He will bring their “own ways” upon them. Their arrogance and idolatry will cause them to be destroyed. People outside the city will die by the sword while those inside will die of famine.

Ezekiel 8 – God takes Ezekiel up (in spirit?) and shows him several abominations that the Jews were practicing regularly, some in secret (the thinking was that God had forsaken them and therefore does not see these things). One part of the vision had women weeping over the false god Tammuz, who was a mythical fertility god of the Mesopotamians. There was a rumor that he was killed, so these women thought they could no longer have children. Another group was basically thumbing their noses up at God and doing bad things.

Application for Today: God sees all. We cannot hide from Him. Also, we should not try to mix beliefs into our lives that are contrary to God’s Word.

Ezekiel 9 – God shows Ezekiel a vision from the spiritual world. Powerful servants (angels?) of God were ordered to kill every Jew except the ones with a mark on their foreheads. Those would be the ones who were distressed over the abominations. Starting from the sanctuary outward, all was carried out. Ezekiel was the only one left so he was very concerned about the remnant not being preserved. All this was shown to him in a vision. I do not think it was carried out in our natural realm as of yet.

Note: Dispensationalist author Mark Hitchcock claims that this mark in Ezekiel was literal and visible in his book, “Who Is the Anti-Christ?” on page 94. There is no indication of this, however. Moreover, the context is describing a spiritual vision given to Ezekiel with no hint of the mark being something that humans could see.

Dispensationalists jump at this thought of literal marks because they believe the mark of the beast will be a literal 666 on foreheads or right hands. This, in my opinion, is probably not true for two reasons. First, the Book of Revelation is replete with symbolic language. Second, a literal, visible mark is far too obvious thus weakening the power of the Anti-Christ’s deception. Third is Bible precedent, which embraces the rule of interpretation that maintains “the Bible interprets Itself.” Therefore, since the mark in Ezekiel was spiritual, not physical, so shall the mark of the beast be. Some may argue that Cain’s mark had to be visible because it prevented others from attacking him. However, an invisible spiritual mark can serve that same purpose since spiritual beings would be provoking any attack. The Bible is not specific about this mark.

Christians need to look at the different viewpoints of End-Time prophecy in order to treat issues fairly. Most Christians today only hear and read from the dispensational view and this is not fair. A dispensationalist is a Christian who believes that most of Revelation pertains to the 21st century church (they are also called futurists) while preterists, historicists, and ammillenialists believe that most of the Book is a revelation of Jesus Christ to the 1st Century Church and/or a chronicle of the entire church age. There is also the “idealist view” that applies Scripture from prophetic Books in a general manner for all generations following Christ’s life and does not consider specific events as fulfillments.

All viewpoints have strengths and weaknesses. To embrace only one viewpoint and to defend it to the death is probably not the wisest path to take. There are Christians who love the Lord who embrace these various approaches to End-time prophecy, therefore we should not allow different interpretations divide us against each other. These interpretation differences have nothing to do with salvation. So let us be ever mindful of what we have in common.

Applications for Today:

1) Notice that God’s judgment started with the Jewish rulers in the sanctuary and then moved out beyond them. God holds people with more revelation and responsibility to a higher standard (James 3:1; 1 Peter 4:17).
2) As we see from these chapters in Ezekiel, God has specific plans for people (both good and tragic). He gives much thought about those plans. He also gives fair warnings over much time to give people a chance to turn to Him rather than false gods. We are so blessed to have a God that has ultimate power to be so fair and merciful, always with our good in mind. I cannot imagine having a supreme authority being evil…how horrible that would be!

Ezekiel 10 – The prophet once again sees a vision of the glory of the Lord in the same form as he did in Chapter 1. He again describes this appearance in detail. Again he mentions four faces – a man, a lion, an eagle, and, this time, a cherub (angel). These were contained in each of the wheels that he saw. Once again he saw the throne of God above the vision. While in the Temple, a man dressed in linen was ordered to take burning coals from between the whirling wheels under the cherubim and scatter them over the city. I think God was showing Ezekiel in a symbolic manner what He was about to do to Jerusalem and its inhabitants. Why He chooses such a demonstrative vision could be to thoroughly impress the prophet thus motivating him to deliver God’s Word to the people without doubt or fear. Just a guess.

Ezekiel 11 – The Spirit lifted Ezekiel up and moved him to the east gate of Jerusalem where he saw 25 men he recognized as leaders. God says they are the ones devising evil and giving evil advice. Ezekiel was given orders to prophesy against them. As Ezekiel sees one man die, he fears that there will be no remnant spared, but God assures him there will be that remnant that will have a new spirit within them that God deposits, and they will have a soft heart toward Him, and obey Him finally. So Ezekiel obeys the vision and tells it to the exiled Hebrews. These rulers thought that Jerusalem could never fall to enemies, so God was dealing with arrogance as well.

Application for Today: People today base strong beliefs on assumptions that are not necessarily true. These assumptions hide truth. Examples include: there can’t just be one way to Heaven, dating methods prove the earth is billions of years old, the speed of light is constant, the Titanic is unsinkable, God is imperfect because of the state of this world, and our stereotyping of people. Arrogance can also contribute heavily to people believing false assumptions. People, in general, think they know so much when they know so little.

Ezekiel 12 – In addition to being rebellious against their God, these Hebrews also claimed Ezekiel’s prophesies and visions were to be fulfilled in the far future, certainly not soon and in their lifetime. So God had Ezekiel pack his baggage and bring it into the full sight of all the people as a statement of impending exile. All of Ezekiel’s actions were to be signs to Israel of impending doom and exile, yet the promise of a small remnant being saved still comes forth from God. The remnant would serve two purposes: 1) Fulfill God’s promise to David’s lineage and a future Messiah, and 2) They could tell other nations about what God was doing and why.

Ezekiel 13 – Railing judgments against false prophets of Israel who speak out of their own hearts rather than God’s.

Ezekiel 14 – Elders rebuked for worshiping idols in their hearts. Things had deteriorated so bad that God says that if Noah, Daniel, and Job were living there, even their children could not be spared (but they would be). This speaks very well for those three men.

Application for Today: What does “worshiping an idol in our hearts” look like today? Although most people in America do not bow down to golden calves in their homes, they still can be idol worshipers. Whatever or whomever we turn to or trust in for our needs and comforts is what we worship. It could be fallible people, our weekly paychecks, our education, modern science, or ourselves. Many of these things we will use and deal with, but we are not to put our ultimate trust in. The ancient Hebrews would not only have images carved to worship, but they also at times trusted other nations to protect them via alliances. There may be nothing wrong with making an alliance with someone as long as our ultimate trust is in God and that we are obeying Him. I may respect the modern engineering of bridge construction, but I will pray and trust God to carry me over safely each time. I may get an antibiotic to go after my strep throat, but I will pray and trust God to bring ultimate healing. I may subject my body to surgery, but I will pray that God guide every doctor and nurse who works on me.

Ezekiel 15 – God rails against Jerusalem because it has become useless to Him.

Ezekiel 16 – God tells Ezekiel to make known to Jerusalem her abominations. God reveals that her origin was lowly and no one cared but Him, and He raised her up. He made a covenant with her and therefore became her parent (tending to her needs and rearing her). He even gave her an anointing to prosper. This eventually led to other nations hearing about the God of Israel. Then the Jewish people trusted in their own beauty and thus placed their love in the things of this world and into false gods (played the harlot against the true God). “She” got so bad that “she” got to the point of sacrificing her own children in fire to false gods (the worst state of any people or nation). The Jews actually became worse than the heathens (v47). This resulted in the heathens looking more righteous than they. This all caused them to forget how God brought them up from nothing. They acquired the same sexual lusts as the Egyptians and spread their “harlotry” further but never found any satisfaction. As judgment, God will cause those heathen nations whom the Jews aligned with in behaviors and attitudes to all come against Israel. All this will calm God’s fury and He will be angry no more. Then after this horrific destruction of Jews, God will remember His covenant with them which is an everlasting one. Because of their past sins and humiliation, however, they will never again “open their mouth” (brag or be arrogant?) when they realize that God has forgiven all of their sin.

Applications for Today:

1) It is easy, at first read, to judge these Jews as God did. If we do, we better be careful not to miss His point to us. We are those Jews! We have sinned. We do not deserve eternal life with a Holy God. When we realize our sinful and helpless state, we are humbled. There will be no bragging or arrogance in God’s Eternal Kingdom. In addition, there should be no arrogance within the Body of Christ (the universal church around the world), but there is. Be always on guard for self-righteousness.
2) One popular excuse for people rejecting the Gospel is they see hypocrisy within churches. They quickly judge they are no worse than the church-goers so why should they believe in Christianity? Indeed, poor behavior by Christians taints the witness we have all been called to be to this world. The only answer is repentance and seeking God’s mercy. If this is done, behavior will improve. If this is not done, behavior will grow worse as it did with the OT Jews. There is no “plateauing ” with God, either we are growing closer to Him or farther away. If we feel we are merely stagnating and not backsliding, we are backsliding. The spirit of this world is simply too great and crafty for us to survive without abiding in Christ our Savior and Redeemer and staying in close fellowship with strong believers.
3) Despite rampant hypocrisy in churches today, there are great ones that do exist. Many churches, although not perfect in everything, have great Christian people who do have an effective witness. So anyone outside of Christ who really wants to find the true God can find His true people. They are all around. They comprise a much smaller number than all those on earth who claim to be Christians, but perhaps this is that OT remnant concept being played out in NT times.

Ezekiel 17 – God gave Ezekiel a parable to describe King Nebuchadnezzar’s coming to destroy Jerusalem, and Egypt will not help Israel (as Israel was hoping). At the chapter’s end, however, God again tells of a remnant that will be spared. He uses words in verse 23, however, that parallel Jesus’ words when He was describing the Eternal Kingdom of God in Matthew 13:32. So God quickly moves from Ezekiel’s day to a day that has not yet occurred. In verses 22-24 God describes a “tender young sprig” (Jesus) from the “lofty top of the cedar” (Israel) and “planting it on a high and lofty mountain” (Jesus exalted to having all authority – remember, “mountain” often symbolizes “government or kingdom). This tree then bears many branches and much fruit (saved souls). All “trees” (people) will know who God is then, and He will “dry up the green tree” (humble the proud) and make the dry tree flourish” (exalt the humble and people which this world counts as worthless).

Ezekiel 18 – The theme is that God deals justly with individuals, no matter what family members have done. For example, if a father does lots of evil but his son does good, the son will not die along with the father. Israel was complaining that God’s ways were not right, but their ways were. God disagreed. He also revealed that He takes no pleasure in anyone’s death, whether they have done good or evil in this life. His desire is for all people to repent and turn away from sin and live.

Ezekiel 19 – A lamentation describing the plight and destruction of God’s chosen people.

Ezekiel 20 – God tells Ezekiel to speak to the elders of Israel about the long history of God forming the Jewish people and all that He did for them and all that they did against Him, ending with a plea for them to not make the same mistakes as there forefathers. But when Ezekiel finished, they did not understand as they thought he was speaking to them in a parable.

Application for Today: Respect God’s Word and do not harden your heart against it. Learn it. Meditate on it. Apply it daily. Honor and revere His Kingdom and decide to serve within it. For doing so you will flow in the very “heartbeat” of God.

Ezekiel 21 – More judgments against Jerusalem and the land of Israel.

Ezekiel 22 – God lists specific sins of Israel, many are quite gross. He also states that he could not find even one man that could stand in the gap and save Jerusalem from destruction.

Ezekiel 23 – God describes a rather obscene allegory regarding His people, especially in verse 20. I think He chooses this because He wants to accurately reflect how gross His people have acted by forsaking Him and loving heathen religions and ways of life. Of the two sisters in His allegory, the younger one represents Israel, and “she” (the Hebrews) acted worse than the older sister, who represents a non-Jewish nation. This reflects the fact that the Israeli people, at certain times of their history, have been morally worse than pagans. This stung the heart of God in a big way. As for judgment, God causes those people or things that the Jews “lusted after” to turn against them and destroy them.

Application for Today: As NT believers and members of the fallen human race, we too can lust after the things of this world. When we do this, we forsake God. Something else becomes more important to us than Him, which is idolatry. That thing can have a hold on us that can eventually harm us and others. This could be anything from death, to loss of credibility, to financial ruin, or destroyed relationships with people. This world consistently vies for our affections in many ways. This is why God says He is a jealous God. He knows that these things will harm us and that the only way we can be free and happy is to love Him above all else. The Bible says in Romans 15:4 that the events in the OT were written down for our benefit, so we could learn from them. See also Hebrews 12:1-2.

Ezekiel 24 – God tells Ezekiel that the “desire of his eyes” would be taken from him but he must keep his mourning hidden inside. This was a sign to Judah of the impending disaster – that the things they love would be taken. Ezekiel’s wife died the next day and he obeyed the Word of the Lord. God then tells him that he would soon minister to the exiles.

Application for Today: There are many things and events occurring constantly in our lives, but the Big One is God’s Kingdom. The best way we can deal with everything else is to be totally committed to that Kingdom while we live so no matter what happens, we will remain doing God’s will until we die.

Ezekiel 25 – God promises to judge the nations that rejoiced over Israel’s destruction – Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia.

Ezekiel 26 – The people of Tyre also rejoiced in the Hebrew tragedy so God would destroy them as well.

Ezekiel 27 – Skeptics/critics wrong again.

A lamentation for the city of Tyre. This reveals how prosperous quite a number of businesses were in those days, including shipping and ship building. Its success enriched several kings from other nations. There was much pride in their accomplishments. God states through Ezekiel that Tyre will be destroyed and never built up again.

Controversy: Modern skeptics charge the Bible to be in error here, since Tyre exists today. However, in Ezekiel’s day there were two Tyres, one on the mainland and the other just off the coast in the Mediterranean Sea. This island city was the main city of Tyre.

Here are the specific prophecies about Tyre found in this chapter:

1) Many nations will come against it (v3).
2) Walls to be destroyed (v4)
3) Its debris will be scraped leaving bare rock behind (v4).
4) Many will be slain (v6).
5) Nebuchadnezzar will lay siege and conqueror (v8).
6) Its stones and timbers will be thrown into the water (12).
7) It will never be rebuilt (v14).
8) The sea will cover it (v19).

Later in history, this is what happened: Babylon, ruled by King Nebuchadnezzar, laid siege to Tyre and conquered it, but he did not destroy all the buildings although walls were torn down. Many were killed. He failed to take the main city (island off the coast) however. Later, Alexander the Great from the Kingdom of Greece flattened the mainland part, killed more people, and scraped the town’s debris into the water in order to build a land bridge to the island city leaving bare rock behind. He eventually utterly destroyed that main island city of Tyre. Over time, the ruins sank into the ocean, never to be rebuilt again. The exact location of the mainland part was lost after Alexander’s attack, but a city was rebuilt somewhere near it and it stood in Jesus’ day and stands today. Sceptics claim the Bible was wrong about Ezekiel’s prophecy that Tyre would never be rebuilt, but they neglect the whole story of its history.

Ezekiel 28 – A Sneak Peek at Satan and the Power of Music

The first 11 verses clearly describe the king of Tyre who was filled with pride as being a leader whom God would soon destroy. But verse 12 begins a lamentation that seems to deviate from the earthly realm. Verse 13 seems to produce the main hint regarding this shift. It says, “You were in Eden, the garden of God.” This could not refer to the king of Tyre. Most theologians believe verses 12-17 are describing Lucifer before and after his fall. If accurate, Satan was a beautiful and powerful angel guarding something, and had music emanating from his being. Perhaps he was the worship leader before his pride led to his fall. Verse 15 reveals he was made perfect, but when unrighteousness was found in him he was filled with violence. When we see violence increasing on earth, we know that Satan and his demons are more active. We do not get much information about the devil in the Old Testament Books. Beyond this chapter, there is only early Genesis and Isaiah Chapter 14, which somewhat parallels the above verses in Ezekiel 28:12-17 lending credibility to this interpretation.

Application for Today: Watch out for pride. Since this was Satan’s initial problem, he will try to make that ours as well. Watch out for music. We learn from Scripture that it has power to change moods, and power over evil spirits (minstrel David played his harp to rid King Saul of the evil spirit that God had sent him). If this chapter has been properly interpreted, then Satan would certainly use the power of music to get people to sin against God. While some of the best innovations in music have occurred in the last 50 years, there has also been a deterioration of music that has captivated young people and has led them astray by way of bad attitudes toward righteousness. Even if the above interpretation is incorrect, it still remains plain to see that there is much promotion of sin through some music since the late 1950s.

When judging musical groups or individual songs, I would look for arrogance as the first red flag. Secondly, ask this question – Do they really care about your personal life or are they advocating drugs, fornication, violence, or rebellion against parents or civil authorities? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discern where some musicians are taking their fans today. Idolatry pervades American tweens and teens today via music and musicians. Movies and other things can do the same, so I am not just picking on music, but the context of Ezekiel 28:13 mentions “flutes and tambourines” (music) being created inside this powerful cherub…and I don’t think this can pertain to some historical earthly king (of Tyre).

Ezekiel 29 – Judgments against Egypt. God tells Ezekiel that He will destroy Egypt and it would never return to its previous status in the world. The Pharaoh’s people would be scattered among nations like the Jews were, and returned to their land like the Jews. The land of Egypt was “off the map” for 40 years after King Nebuchadnezzar conquered it. One reason God did this to Egypt is that He never wanted His people, Israel, to trust in their help again, and ultimately, to let people know who He is.

Ezekiel 30 – Gives additional detail of King Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Egypt. Again the cause is pride and Israel’s past false hope in getting Egypt’s help because of its strength. The destruction would go beyond Egypt, even into Ethiopia. Again, the overall purpose is to let the people in earth know who God is.

Ezekiel 31 – Pharaoh of Egypt is warned about Assyria’s fate, and that same judgment will happen to his nation. Most likely, much of the descriptions are various metaphors for the arrogance and pride of the nations of Egypt and Assyria.

Ezekiel 32 – A lengthy lamentation for Pharaoh, king of Egypt.

Application for Today: Pride, and thinking oneself is more important than others, will always meet the wrath of God. Mankind’s history contains example after example of the relationship between pride and destruction. Pride is perhaps the most common sin among mankind. Let us always be on guard against it and pray to the Lord that we remain humble. In a later commentary from Micah 6:8, we will discover what God’s requirement for us is to do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with God. I like this. It is short, sweet, and simple.

Ezekiel 33 – God tells Ezekiel that if he does not speak the Word of God to the people in exile then their blood will be on his conscience. Jerusalem was taken by the Babylonians (v21).

Ezekiel 34 – Judgments came against the shepherds of Israel. These religious leaders where so corrupt that they were feeding themselves and living in luxury while their people were poor and needy both physically and spiritually. God promises to destroy them and then feed His people Himself through King David. King David probably can be seen as a Christ-type here because Jesus would eventually become the Permanent Shepherd that would make sure His sheep are feed. Verse 28 adds support to Christ being represented as it says that God’s people will no longer “be a prey to the nations.” After David’s life, Jews and Christians were still persecuted and murdered simply because of their faith, so I think the only way verse 28 can be true is when Christ reigns over the new heavens and new earth.

Application for Today: There are many church leaders today that feed themselves more than their flocks. Be aware of leaders getting rich off the congregations and spending money on things that do not promote the Kingdom. Their flaunted wealth is a major stumbling block to non-Christians. God will judge them. Many have fallen. Still, many have active ministries unfortunately. If only people would not follow them…this would strip them of all their power and charisma.

Ezekiel 35 – Through Ezekiel, God pronounces judgment against all of Edom because they had been arrogantly speaking against God and enjoyed shedding the blood of Hebrews during God’s punishment against the Jews. They also thought that they could have the land of Israel even though God was there. Therefore, God allowed bloodshed to pursue them. As always, God’s overriding purpose is to let sinful nations know who He is.

Ezekiel 36 – God remains very upset with the nations because they have relished the destruction of Israel, God’s people. This may be the main reason why God tells us not to rejoice in the downfall of our enemies (Proverbs 24:17). So God’s Holy jealousy rose against those nations and declared He will restore and rebuild the Hebrews in their land that was promised to them, not so much for their sake but for the sake of preserving His Holy Name and reputation. When Israel becomes restored, they are to remember how bad they were and that God brought them back to let all know who He is. In this way, the Jews should not become arrogant again, thinking they are good enough for God’s favor (Deut.9:5-6). With this hope in God’s mind, He will treat these future Hebrews better than the previous ones. So by doing all this, God is letting not just the Jews know who He is, but all the nations because He loves all people and wants the best for them. His plea for them is to simply honor and obey Him. He promises to put a new attitude in the hearts of the Jews who would be part of this restoration and that will enable them to obey and follow God which can set the example for all nations. This would be a strong testimony about the real, one and only God.

Application for Today: Bible-believing Christians need to be able to defend the hope that lies within us (1Peter 3:15). This includes defending ALL Scriptures, not just the NT ones. I have heard critics of the Bible assert that the “god of the Old Testament” was mean and bloodthirsty while the “god of the NT” was more loving. The only way a person could conclude this is if they merely do a quick read of the Scriptures, if they do that at all. Many Bible-slammers have rarely read it. They fail to see the true heart of God because they do not want to follow Him (John 7:17). This hardness of heart prevents them from understanding the stages of God’s Ultimate Plan and the Love behind all that He does. Our Creator does not have a split personality. It seems to me, however, that He did have to choose different ways to reveal Himself to fallen mankind without killing them all. Remember, sinful humans will die if they see God face-to-face (Exodus 33:20; Habakkuk 1:13; 1 Corinthians 15:50). So God had to work through chosen people over centuries in order to reveal Himself in stages so that at the end of time the most souls would have eternal life. He has battled through many generations of rebellion and perversion and successfully prepared the earth folks for the arrival of the Messiah in the Last Days of earth’s history (Hebrews 1:1-2). Now, for the past 2,000+ years, millions are flocking into His Kingdom via the Cross of Christ. Had He come in the middle of OT history, I don’t think that many would have been able to grasp it all, and possibly the church would have died out. But the Scriptures state that Christ came at the right time (Galatians 4:4 and Romans 5:6). So I guess the old saying “timing is everything” applies to God’s Plan too. I so love His Word, without it I would have no idea about what life is about. The Word truly is a “lamp unto my feet” (Psalms 119:105).

Ezekiel 37 – God again is revealing through a prophet that He will restore His people to the land of Israel. God used a graphic vision of many dried out, unattached human bones in a valley. God caused them all to come back to life with flesh added. I think God realized that the hope of His people was at an all-time low which was what they deserved. I also think that God allowed that hope to hit bottom so that when He brings them back, they will know that there is a God in heaven that did it. It would not be due to their own intelligence or abilities.

Interpretation needed: Is God referring to a literal Israel comeback or is He describing something beyond that? I believe verse 24 holds the key to understanding the context of what God is saying through Ezekiel. It claims that David will be king over Israel when they are restored. If you recall history, David lived and died some 400 years BEFORE Ezekiel was born, so God cannot be referring to a literal David. Some think that “David” represents the Christ ruling over a resurrected people. However, God says He will multiply these people and their sons’ sons will live forever on that promised land. People do not have babies in the afterlife as far as we know, since Jesus said we will be like the angels (no marriages). Maybe the multiplying takes places before they die as believers?? Perhaps this chapter refers to many Last Days Jews converting to Christ as dispensationalists believe. However, verse 28 states that God’s sanctuary will be in their midst forever. So I don’t think He is talking about a physical temple building or physical Jews here. It sounds too much like the spiritual new Jerusalem described at the end of the Book of Revelation.

Ezekiel 38 – God speaks against a future power to the north of Israel called Gog from the land of Magog. It will have a huge army and will attack the people who have been restored and brought back to Israel. The prophecy is spoken to the “chief prince of Meshech.” Was this a mere man or a demon? Daniel 10:13 speaks of a “prince” over the country of Persia who was a demon and thwarted an angel’s attempt to bring Daniel a message from God which was an answer to Daniel’s prayer. But this angel had to summon a stronger angel (Michael) in order to break through to Daniel. So this whole picture of a battle between restored Israel and some power to the north could actually be a spiritual one that somehow plays out in our natural world.

Some popular Christian authors claim that Russia is Magog (power to the north) and it will attack Israel soon and be defeated. This is an interpretation, not a fact. I also think it is shallow to look at current events and speculate how they might fulfill Bible prophecies without regard for what the OT has established as symbolic phraseology. Verse 11 states that the people in Israel will have no protection – no gates, no walls, and no bars. They will also be at rest. This does NOT describe modern Israel today. I can’t think of a more protected and tense country today. Verse 8 does mention that all this will all occur “after many days” and in the “latter years” which could lend credibility to the futuristic interpretation. However, we must be ever mindful that the Bible defines the beginning of “the Last Days” with Christ on earth (Acts 2:14-21 & Hebrews 1:2), not the 21st century. So earth has been in its Last Days for about 2,000 years. Another thought is that the phrase “latter years” in this context could also mean the latter years of the Old Covenant. Israel also has northern enemies such as Syria and Turkey, not just Russia. The bottom line is that these interpretations are conjectures with potential to be wrong. No one knows for sure what every prophetic verse in the Bible means.

During this attack from the north, there will be a great earthquake and all men on the earth will feel the shaking. Mountains and walls will fall down. Literal or symbolic? I think symbolic. Mountains consistently represent governments and “walls” could mean worldly things people count on or trust in. Throughout history, God has overthrown countless governments with His judgments, including Israel’s

Ezekiel 39 – This chapter describes in detail about the defeat of Gog by Israel and is difficult to interpret. Verses 9-12 seem literal, but then verses 17-18 has God saying to Israel that they will drink human blood and eat human flesh. I can’t believe that God would order His people to break His commandment about blood. This part may be a symbolic portrayal of total victory over Israel’s powerful enemy. Many think that this has not yet occurred in history because of Revelation 20:7-9, which reveals that AFTER Satan has been bound for 1,000 years, Gog and Magog will attack God’s people, who are identified as “saints” or “true believers.” These terms go far beyond literal Jews, however. They include Gentile Christians and saved Jews. If these verses are describing a main event in the future, then the weapons mentioned would not be made of wood (bows, arrows, clubs, spears) therefore would not be able to be burned. Modern weaponry would not look like this. So is this all literal or symbolic? Has it occurred already? I’ve never found information claiming that Israel ever defeated a powerful northern enemy and burned their weapons for seven years. This leads me to believe this chapter is describing a future event. If so, it is difficult to imagine it being anything other than symbolic phraseology.

The solution may rest with WHEN the millennium starts. Some think it started when Christ ascended to the throne of ultimate power in heaven and He has been ruling through His people since. In this case, the millennium represents a long period of time rather than 1,000 literal years. Satan’s binding is another issue. Many Christians picture this as being totally without power to do anything, but the Scripture specifically states that it was so that Satan could no longer deceive nations. The Bible never says that this binding stripped Satan of all power. I realize it describes him being bound with chains and thrown into the abyss with it then being sealed shut over him. I admit this sounds like all power would be gone. But this, too, most likely is symbolic, not literal. For example, do we really think that literal chains can thwart a powerful spiritual angel in any way? Of course not. Could Satan maintain his rule over demons from “the abyss?” Could he still have some influence on people on earth in spite of this “binding?” It’s possible. Historically, nations did suddenly receive the Gospel following Christ’s resurrection. Within a few hundred years the Gospel went far and wide. This knowledge of God never spread like this in all previous history! Certainly, something BIG had changed! Rather than describing Russia attacking Jews in Israel in the 21st century, perhaps all this is describing the spiritual warfare that is going on now between true believers and those who stand against the Bible. This war against God and His people has been going on for centuries in various forms. There is a huge war going on for the spiritual direction of our nation. Whatever the case, God does all this to let people on earth know who He is.

Ezekiel 40-48:

God shows a very detailed vision of a Temple with scores of precise measurements for all the walls, buildings, and rooms. When all was said, the dimensions were similar to Solomon’s Temple which was destroyed many years earlier. The big question is: was this vision literal or figurative? I think both. Although Ezekiel’s vision of the Temple was fantastic, John’s in Revelation revealed God’s final results of His Master Plan.

There are strong similarities between these Ezekiel chapters and Revelation 21-22. Both visions happened when God’s people were suffering great troubles. Ezekiel saw his vision after the Babylonian army destroyed Jerusalem. The Israelites were in exile and their situation seemed hopeless. John was a prisoner on the island of Patmos when he saw his vision. The government was opposing early Christians in a very cruel manner. All John’s colleagues had been martyred.

From the literal viewpoint, there are several references to literal Jewish tribes and priests whose duties were outlined. Moreover, there was still animal sacrifices to be continuing in the described Temple altar because God was still dealing with human sin. This prescribed Temple was never built physically, however. A temple was constructed after the exile to Babylon was completed, but not like this one in Ezekiel.

Dispensationalists believe that this Temple therefore must be built in Jerusalem as a sign of Christ’s imminent return. If so, unconverted Jews would also have to bring back animal sacrificing. It’s possible, but the PETA org would go ballistic! More importantly, however, it would be a great insult to God to allow the Jews to return to animal sacrifice considering what Jesus accomplished on the cross. The Book of Hebrews permanently cemented that big change regarding how to obtain forgiveness of sin. So, perhaps God was outlining the perfect Temple for the Old Covenant, while at the same time, including aspects of the New Jerusalem that has no Temple because Christ was the final sacrifice according to Hebrews Chapter 10. Also Hebrews 8:5 reveals that OT Law and the tabernacle (Temple) were mere shadows or copies of heavenly things. In Ezekiel 43:7 God says He will be in “the Temple forever.” This, however, must be symbolic of something more than a physical building because Jesus, by His authority, abolished Temple worship in a physical Jerusalem in John 4:21-24 when speaking to the Samaritan women at the well. So I think God was weaving quite a complete and beautiful tapestry for us by combining the literal and the figurative.

The Life-Giving Stream (47:1-12) is fascinating. God gradually led Ezekiel into a river, but soon it became too deep to get across. God said the water will make salt water fresh and produce all kinds of life. The river in Revelation 22:1-2 produces life to the nations. I just get this picture of Jesus coming out from Jerusalem after accomplishing His mission, and causing (with the help of the Holy Spirit freshly given to mankind) an ever widening river of salvation to millions of souls who were dead but now live! This section of verses also describe fisherman catching many fish with nets. This, again, is a picture of the future when millions of true Christians spread the Gospel and get people saved. Jesus did say He would make His disciples fishers of men. In verse 11, however, there is a dark element. Perhaps this means there will be areas in our world where the Gospel would not have success. This may refer to countries where there are not many Christians and the Gospel is not very active.

There is much more to these final chapters of Ezekiel but it is difficult to understand. I hope I have given you enough to make your awe of our loving Creator increase.