Ezekiel's vision in the temple of Jerusalem comes to an end.
Ezekiel Chapter 11
Lessons from the text
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 Continuing the vision began in chapter 8, God takes Ezekiel to the eastern gate. There, two leaders of Judah are just outside of the temple. This is the only place in Scripture where Jaazaniah the son of Azur and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah are mentioned.
2-3 God states that these two princes have caused wickedness to be present in Jerusalem by giving advice that encourages wickedness. They believe that they are the sustenance of the city, the meat that makes the soup harty and filling.
4 God rebukes the princes. If one teaches others to tramble on the innocent, take advantage of the poor, neglect the widows, or any other form of wickedness, one can expect to be judged harshly by a righteous God.
5-12 God compells Ezekiel to prophesy. Noteworthy is that God turns around the very things that the two princes thought; the princes believe that they are the meat of the city, but God says that the poor and innocent that they have slain are the true meat of the city. Those who are often looked down on by man are the very ones that God estimes the most. The very things that the people trust in, such as the strength of the city, will be exposed as false trusts; instead of turning to themselves, physical goods, or idols for protection, the people should have trusted in God. Furthermore, God makes it clear that He knows the very hearts and intentions of man (I Chro. 28:9, Mt. 9:4). Every single thought that a person thinks is seen and heard by God. Nothing is done in secret.
13 This verse is fascinating. Ezekiel is not physically present, yet his words still have impact as though he were literally standing there. Ezekiel is proclaiming a prophesy to people who cannot hear him. When he returns to his body at the end of this chapter, he repeats the prophesy to the elders of Israel of the captivity; if the elders were to doubt Ezekiel, they could send letters to Jerusalem to see if Pelatiah were still alive, and, doing so, they would have found Ezekiel's vision to truly be from God because the prince would have been dead. Also noteworthy is Ezekiel's plea for the remnant that is in Judah. While the Spirit of the Lord is on him, he can do nothing but speak what God wants him to say, but the moment the Spirit releases him, Ezekiel begs God for mercy on behalf of the people. This shows that what one wants for those around one may not match up with God's intentions, and one must obey God over one's own feelings. See also Isaiah 55:9.
14-20 God answers Ezekiel's plea by reminding the prophet that the city of Jerusalem has taught the Jews as a whole to forsake God. It is on this basis that God is judging the city. Since they taught to remove God from the people, God will remove them from their lands. However, God lets Ezekiel know that He will not utterly destroy the remnant of the Jews; once the people have been scattered in judgemnt, God will provide divine protection to the survivors and evenatually restore them to their lands. At that time, the people will return in truth to God; they will remove all idolatry and desire to serve God. In response, God will give them a new spirit. This foreshadows the thought that a person must be born-again to attain salvation (Jn. 3:1-8). When a person accepts Christ, that person recieves the Holy Ghost into the heart, thus becoming a new creature who has an earnest desire to please God through obedience and faith. This also correlates to the fact that the ten commandants (representing the law) will be replaced by flesh (Jesus) in people's hearts.
21 As much as God promises restoration and a new heart to those who turn to Him, He promises justice in the form of wrath to those who refuse to turn from wickedness to accept His ways.
22-23 The cherubims lift their wings and they and the glory of the Lord which is above them leave the city through the east gate to take up new residence on the Mount of Olives. This holds double significance. First, God leaves by the eastern gate to reside on the Mount of Olives and will come from the Mount of Olives to enter by the eastern gate as Jesus Christ (Mt. 21:1-11). Second, God will return in body to the Mount of Olives as the glorified Jesus to deliver Jerusalem in the final days of the world (Zech. 14:1-9).
24-25 The Holy Spirit lifts Ezekiel from the temple and returns him to his home in Chaldea. There, he tells everything he saw and heard to the elders of the captivity who are sitting in his house (Eze. 8:1).
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