Ezekiel Chapter 7:16-22
Let us continue from our last study picking up at chapter 7:16-22. The previous chapters may be found on this website under “prophetical studies.”
We have attended the fate of those that are cut off, now to attend the flight of those that have an opportunity of escaping the danger for some of them shall escape (v.16), but what the better? As the good die once, in a miserable life, the cowards and deceivers die a thousand deaths, and escape only like Cain to be fugitives and vagabonds, afraid of being slain by everyone they meet. So shall these be.
I. They shall have no comfort or satisfaction in their own minds. They will be in continual anguish and terror. For, wherever they go, they carry about with them guilty consciences which make them a burden unto themselves. 1. They shall be always solitary and under prevailing melancholy; they shall not be in the cities or places of concourse, but all alone upon the mountain, not caring for society, but shy of it, as being ashamed of the low circumstances to which they are reduced. 2. They shall always be sorrowful. Those have reason to be so that they are under the tokens of G-d’s displeasure and G-d can make those so that they who have been most jovial now have set sorrow at defiance. Those that once thought themselves as the lions of the mountains, so daring were they, now become as the doves of the valleys, so timid are they, and so dispirited, ready to flee when none pursues and to tremble at the shaking of a leaf. They are all of them mourning (not with a godly sorrow, but with the sorrow of the world, which works death),everyone for his iniquity, that is, for those calamities which they now see their iniquity has brought upon them, not only the iniquity of the land, but their own: they shall then be brought to acknowledge what each of them has contributed to the national guilt. Note, sooner or later sin will have sorrow of one kind or another; and those who will not repent of their iniquity may justly be left to pine away in it; those that will not mourn for it as it is an offense to G-d, shall be made to mourn for it as it is a shame and ruin to themselves to mourn at the last, when the flesh and the body are consumed, and to say, How have I hated instructions! Prov. 5;11,12. 3. They shall be deprived of all their strength of body and mind (v. 17): All hands shall be feeble, so that they shall not be able to fight or defend themselves, and all knees shall be weak as water, so that they shall neither be able to flee nor to stand their ground; they shall feel a universal colliquation: their knees shall flow as water , so that they must fall of course. Note that it is folly for the strong man to glory in his strength, for G-d can soon weaken it. 4. They shall be deprived of all their hopes and shall abandon themselves to despair (v.18); they shall have nothing with which to uphold their spirits; their aspects shall show their prospects, all dreadful, for they shall gird themselves with sackcloth, as having no expectation to ever wear better clothing. Horror shall cover them, and shame, and baldness, all the expressions of a desperate sorrow (Isa, 17:11). Those that will not be kept from sin by fear and shame shall by fear and shame be punished for it. Such is the confusion that is the result of sin.
II. They shall have no benefit from their wealth and riches but shall be perfectly sick of them (v.19). Those that were reduced to this distress were such as had an abundance of silver and gold, money, and plate, and jewels, and other valuable goods from which they promised themselves a great deal of advantage in times of public trouble. They thought their wealth would be their strong city, that with it they could bribe enemies and buy friends; that it would be the ransom of their lives, that they could never want bread as long as they had money, and that money would answer all things; but see how it proved. 1. Their wealth had been a great temptation to them in the day of their prosperity; they set their affections upon it and put their confidence in it. By their eager pursuit of it they were drawn into sin, and by their plentiful enjoyment of it they were hardened in sin. Thus, it was a stumbling block of their iniquity; it occasioned their falling onto sin and obstructed their return to G-d. Note that there are many whose snare and ruin are the result of their wealth and attitude towards it. The gaining of the world is the loss of their souls. It makes them proud, secure, covetous, and oppressive when if it had been used wisely might have been the servant of their piety. However, being abused becomes the stumbling block of their iniquity. 2. It was no relief to them now in the day of their adversity for (1) Their gold and silver could not protect them from the judgments of G-d. They shall not be able to deliver them in the day of wrath of the L-rd; they shall not from the judgments he is bringing upon them. Riches profit not in the day of wrath, (Prov.11:4). They neither set them so high that G-d’s judgments cannot reach them or make them so strong that they cannot conquer them. There is a day of wrath coming, when it will appear that men’s wealth is utterly unable to deliver them or do them any service. What the better was the rich man for his full barns when his soul was required of him, or that other rich man for his purple, and scarlet, and sumptuous fare, when in hell he could not procure a drop of water to cool his tongue? Money is no defense against the arrests of death, nor any alleviation to the miseries of the damned. (2) Their gold and silver could not give them any content under their calamities. They could not fill their bowels; when there was no bread left in the city; none to be had for love make one meals meat for them. Note that we would be better off without mines of gold than fields of corn; the produce of the earth, which may easily be gathered from the surface of it, are much greater blessings to mankind than its treasures with which so much difficulty and hazards are a part. If G-d provide daily bread, we have reason to be thankful with no reason to complain, even if we do not have silver or gold.
Much less could they satisfy their souls or yield any inward comfort. The wealth of this world has not that in it which will answer the desires of the soul or be any satisfaction to it in a day of distress. He that loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver, much less he that loses it.
Their gold and silver shall be thrown into the streets, either by the hands of the enemy who shall have more spoil than they care for or can carry away (silver shall be nothing accounted of; they shall cast that in the streets; but the gold, which is more valuable, shall be removed and brought to Babylon. Or they themselves shall throw away their silver and gold, because it will be an encumbrance to them and retard their flight, or because it would expose them and be a temptation to the enemy to cut their throats for their money or in indignation at it Especially after all the care and pains they had taken to scrape it together and hoard it, they found it would stand them in no stead, but do them a mischief instead. Important to remember that the world passes away, and the lusts thereof (1Jn 2:17). The time will come when worldly men will be as weary of their wealth as now they are wedded to it; when those will fare the best who have the least.
III. G-d’s temple shall stand them in no stead (v.20-22). They had prided themselves in this and promised themselves security (Jer.7:4; Mic.3:11). But this confidence shall fail. Observe 1. The great honor G-d had done to that people in setting up His sanctuary among them (v.20): As for the beauty of his ornament, that holy and beautiful house, where they and their fathers praised G-d (Isa. 64:11), which was therefore beautiful because holy (it was called the beauty of holiness, and holiness is the beauty of its ornament; it was also adorned with gold and gifts- as for this, he set it in majesty; everything was contrived to make it magnificent, that it might help to make the Israelites the more illustrious among their neighbors. He built his sanctuary like high places, (Ps.78:69). It was a glorious high throne from the beginning, (Jer.17:12). But here is the great dishonor they had done to G-d in profaning his sanctuary. They made the images of their counterfeit deities, which they set up in rivalship with G-d and which are called in this narrative their abominations and their detestable things (for so they were to G-d and should have been to the people). These were set up in G-d’s temple, the worst affront they could have committed towards G-d. Consequently, G-d made it clear He would deprive them of the temple, and it shall be no succor to them: Therefore, have I set it far from them, that is, sent them far from it, so that it is out of reach of their services and they are out of profession of religion will justly be taken away from those that despise and profane them. Nay, they shall not only be kept at a distance from the temple, but the temple itself shall be involved in the common desolation (v. 21). The Chaldeans who are strangers, and therefore have no veneration for it, who are the wicked of the earth, and therefore have an antipathy to it, shall have it for a prey and for a spoil. All the ornaments between that and other plunder. This was a grief to the saints in Zion, who complained of nothing so much as of that which the enemy did wickedly in the sanctuary (Ps. 74:3). But it was the punishment of the sinners in Zion, who by profaning the temple with strange gods , provoked G-d to suffer it to be profaned by strange nations , and to turn his face from those that did it as if he had not seen them and their crimes and from those that deprecated it as not regarding them and their prayers. Let the soldiers do as they will; let them enter into the secret place, into the holy of holies, as robbers; let them strip it, let them pollute it; its defense has departed, and then farewell all its glory. Note that there are those who are unworthy to be honored with the form of godliness who will not be governed by the power of godliness.
I submit we are in the beginning of the times that parallel the sins of the Israelites and the destruction of the temples. Israelites are all true believers, but we still have to live in the world of increasing godlessness while not becoming of the world of increasing paganism. All we need to is look around us to see how G-d’s Torah and the prophecies written for Biblical times and the future Messianic age are being fulfilled. When those who are foolish are said to be wise; when the seasons do not occur as they were designed, earthquakes in diverse places, lawlessness and hatred growing all around; when G-d’s name is removed from everything in global societies; when things that are clearly stated as abominations to G-d are not only deemed as right, but dominate the media and are taught as tolerance and love, we can know for sure we are in the end times and must prepare ourselves for whatever true believers must overcome before Yahshua’s return. Be strong, be bold. Our G-d will neither forsake or abandon us. We must learn what a true believer is according to G-d himself and align our lives accordingly.
For more information on scripture defining a true believer, go to: “ask the rabbi” section on the website and post your questions.
Next class: Chapter 7:23-27
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart