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                   Ezekiel 16:20-21; 23:36-39; Psalm 139:13-16

                                       January 16, 2022

 

 

 

                        The Prophet on the Judgment-Seat (vs. 1-16)

 

As among men there occurs, now and again, a great assize, when evil

deeds are examined and flagrant offenders judged, so God has His seasons

when high-handed crime is arrested, and the offenders feel the reality of

Divine justice. Penalties are not awarded in the dark. Good men see clearly

the equity of the proceeding and the extreme patience of the Judge. God

places His doings in the public light.  “Some men’s sins are open beforehand

going before to judgmentl and some men they follow after.  Likewise

also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that

are otherwise cannot be hid.”  (I Timothy 5:24-25)

 

·         THE INDICTMENT. It is a long indictment, and embraces all classes of

people.

 

1. Gross abuse of power. The princes — i.e. heads of tribes — used their

power for the destruction of life, not to preserve it. The scepter was turned

into a dagger. Even neglect to protect innocent life becomes murder.

 

2. Idolatry. “The city maketh idols against herself.” In Israel idolatry was

treason. It was the rejection and humbling of their proper King.

 

3. Murder. “The city sheddeth blood.” He who begins to despise God soon

learns to under-value human life. Their children were made to pass through

the fire. Violence against property and life abounded.

 

4. Filial disobedience. “In thee have they set light by father and mother.”

The slaughter of innocent children soon produced its natural fruit.

Children grew up without natural affection. (II Timothy 3:3)  If the

central sun be  destroyed, the planets will soon rush headlong to

mutual destruction. (The Jupiter Effect in thee 1980’s)

 

5. Tyranny. “They have dealt by oppression with the stranger: they have

vexed the fatherless and the widow.” All regard for humane virtues, for

common morality, had vanished. It is the custom throughout the East to

show hospitality to strangers. This is considered a virtue of the first order;

yet even this ordinary virtue was trampled underfoot.

 

6. Profanity. “Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my

sabbaths.” In Israel this was a most flagrant sin. God had given them

tokens of His presence and favor which He had not given unto others;

therefore to profane these sacred tokens was to disgrace God in the eyes of

the surrounding heathen. It was as if a soldier on the battle-field trailed his

country’s flag in the mire. It was as if a married woman should fling her

wedding ring into the fire.

 

7. Murderous intrigues. “Men carry tales to shed blood.” Untruthfulness is

a common sin among the Orientals. Lying intrigues, to encompass a rival’s

death, are plentiful as laws. This sin the Hebrews had copied from their

neighbors.  (and could have been avoided had they obeyed God in

destroying the Canaanites - CY - 2022)

 

8. Unchastity and adultery.They commit lewdness.” The sanctity of the

marriage-tie disappeared. Virtuous affection was strangled by animal lust.

Incest and other abominations followed. (LGBTQ in modern times for

example - supported by search engines who donate part of their profit - CY

-2022)  The people gradually sank to the level of the beasts. (II Peter 2)

All the special dignity and nobleness of manhood died out. Degradation of

humanity spread.

 

9. Judicial bribery. “They have taken gifts to shed blood.” Not an upright

judge remained. Wickedness, like an epidemic (what if the concept of

wickedness was handled by the media [even local media like the New Era]

like they do Covid-19 - daily cramming down the throats of its readers -

same for TV - get immunity through vaccine - can’t get a job

if you are not saved - etc. - CY - 2022) spread and infected every

office and every rank. The fountain of justice became a fountain of

corruption and death.

 

10. Avarice. There were gains that were dishonest. Extortion was on every

side. Avarice, like a cancer, had eaten out all the healthy flesh of honor and

sincerity. Gold became to them a god.  (Is there any possibility of avarice

in those who have developed vaccines for Covid? - CY - 2022)

 

11. Forgetfulness of God. This was the root and the crown of their sins.

The very memory which God created refused to entertain Him; as if a house

which a man himself had built should shut its doors against him. When God

is driven out, all His retinue — purity, strength, unity, peace, honor — go

with Him. (And this is what happened when He left Jerusalem and Judah

to themselves. Do you not see that this can happen and is happening in your

lifetime in the United States of America?  CY - 2022)  This is a long and dismal

catalogue of crimes.  Basically, these are the same things that will bring down

the house at the end of time.  CY - 2022)

 

 

And it is probable  that Schroder is correct in his opinion that both the false

witnesses and the unrighteous judges were thus wickedly employed by the

violent and murderous princes. Thus in Jerusalem, “the holy city,”

human life was no longer regarded as a sacred thing. It was ruthlessly

slaughtered:

 

§         in defiance of law,

§         in defiance of the feelings of our common humanity, and

§          in defiance of the Creator and Father of men.

 

 

In America

 

 

Ø      The scene of these sins. Jerusalem. In this paragraph we have the

words, “in thee,” or “in the midst of thee,” not less than twelve times.

 

22:3 Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD, The city sheddeth blood

in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols against

herself to defile herself.

 

read v. 4

 

22:7 In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of

thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have

they vexed the fatherless and the widow.

 

22:9 In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat

upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness.

 

22:13 Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain

which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the

midst of thee.

 

22:18 Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are

brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they

are even the dross of silver.

 

22:19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become

dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of

Jerusalem.

 

22:20 As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the

midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I

gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there,

and melt you.

 

 

(taking a break from “in the midst of Jerusalem)

 

 “For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the

earth for their iniquity:  the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no

more cover the slain.”  (Isaiah 26:21)

 

 

 

God’s concept of the blood - “For the life of the flesh is in the blood

and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for

your souls:  for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”

(Leviticus 17:11)

 

 

Genesis 4:8-12 

 

9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he

said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?

10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood

crieth unto me from the ground.

11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her

mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;

12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee

her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.

 

Genesis 9::5-7

 

5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of

every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of

every man’s brother will I require the life of man.

6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for

in the image of God made He man.

7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the

earth, and multiply therein

 

 

Isaiah 750-698 B. C. - 52 years

Jeremiah 625-585 B. C. - 40 years

Ezekiel 590-571 B. C. - 20 to 22 years - a priest - 30-50 years of age

 

                           A Picture of Human Depravity and Destitution

                                                               and

                                        Divine Condescension and Favor.

                                                         (Ezekiel 16:1-15)

 

“Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, cause

Jerusalem to know her abominations,” etc. “We have here,” says

Hengstenberg, “one of the grandest prophecies of Ezekiel. The prophet

surveys in the Spirit of God the whole of the development of Israel, the

past and the future.” In this development we have the following stages:

 

                        *The condition in which the Lord found His people;

                        * the condition to which He raised them;

                        * their shameful departures from Him;

                        * His severe judgments upon them; and

                        * their restoration to His favor.

 

 

·         A PICTURE OF HUMAN DEPRAVITY AND DESTITUTION, OR

OF THE CONDITION IN WHICH THE LORD FOUND HIS PEOPLE.

 

Ø      Their depraved moral parentage. Thus saith the Lord God unto

Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the laud of Canaan; thy father

was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite.” The people of Israel are here

designated “Canaanites,” to indicate their degraded moral character and

condition. “The Amorites and the Hittites are two chief Canaanitish tribes,

that elsewhere so often represent the whole of the Canaanites; the Amorites

already, in Genesis 15:16, where they specially represent the

Canaanitish people in their sinfulness.” Moral character and conduct are

often viewed as indicative of moral parentage. “When men live according

to the courses, natures, manners of others, they are styled their sons, or

children.” Thus the Jews are called “sons of the sorceress,” etc. (Isaiah

57:3). The Jews in the time of our Lord’s ministry upon earth claimed to be

“Abraham’s seed They said unto Him, Abraham is our father.” But Jesus

said unto them, “Ye are of your father the devil” (John 8:33-44). And

St. Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, called Elymas the sorcerer a “child of

the devil” (Acts 13:10). The tendency to sin which characterizes human

nature indicates sinful parentage. (The psalmist says, “In sin did my

mother conceive me.”  Psalm 51:5 - CY - 2021)  The doctrine of original sin

has often  been stated in a very objectionable manner. But there is a basis of

fact underlying that doctrine. It is certain that human beings manifest in early

life a proclivity to sin. The modern scientific teaching as to inherited

tendencies conducts to the conclusion that we inherit a depraved moral

nature.

 

Ø      Their destitute moral condition. And as for thy nativity, in the day thou

wast born thy navel was not cut,” etc. (vs. 4-5). These verses point to

the condition of Israel in Egypt, where the family grew into a nation, or the

nation may have said to have been born. There was nothing there to foster

the moral life and health of the young nation. Nay, more, their physical

condition was one of cruel oppression and bitter persecution (one can read of

in Exodus 1:7-22). They were abhorred, afflicted, and brutally ill treated.

But the verses illustrate man’s spiritual condition apart from the grace of

God and the provisions of that grace. (The New Testament parallel is

“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the

commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise,

having no hope, and without God in the world.”  Ephesians 2:12 - CY -

2021)    Man is morally unclean as an unwashed infant, morally neglected

as an uncared for infant, left to live or die, no one taking an interest

in its condition, and being completely incapable of self-help. Is not that a

picture of man’s spiritual state apart from the grace of God? We inherit a

sinful nature. We cannot convert or sanctify ourselves, or even do anything

with a view to such results WITHOUT DIVINE INFLUENCE!  We cannot

repent except as we are summoned and strengthened to do so from heaven.

(Jesus said, No man can come to me, except the Father which sent me

draw him.”  John 6:44 - CY - 2021)  And man cannot save us if he would;

for EVERY MAN IS A SINNER, AND NEEDS SALVATION HIMSELF!

 Neither can angels save us. Their utmost wisdom, love, and might ARE

INADEQUATE TO THE DIFFICULT TASK.  GOD ALONE has pity

enough  and power enough for this work. If He leaves us we must perish.

If we are to be saved HE MUST BEGIN AND CARRY ON THIS

GRACIOUS WORK!  And we rejoice to know that He does not leave

any people to perish without witness of Himself, or without some gracious

influences from Him (compare Acts 14:17; Romans 1:19-20; 1 Timothy 2:4).

 

 

(back to in the midst of Jerusalem)   or right smack dab in the middle of

Washington, D. C. or in any large and liberal metropolis and their

attempt to  penetrate and change “small town” America.

 

 

 

22:21 Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath,

and ye shall be melted in the midst therof.

 

22:22 As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be

melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD

have poured out my fury upon you.

 

22:25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a

roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have

taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many

widows in the midst thereof.

 

22:27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey,

to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.

.

 

 

This was a grievous aggravation of their sins that they were committed

in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was spoken of as “the holy city;” it was the

seat of the worship of the true and holy God; it was celebrated in

sacred song as the dwelling-place of the Most High (Psalm 76:2);

and it was favored religiously above any other city in the world. But

now it had become “the bloody city,” the “defiled” city, the home

of the foulest crimes.“ A Jerusalem may become a Sodom, a holy city

 a den of murderers.” And if it do so, its former privileges aggravate

its guilt and augment its doom (compare Matthew 11:20-24;

Luke 12:47- 48).

 

Ø      The maturity of these sins. “Thou hast caused thy days to draw near,

and art come even unto thy years” (v. 4; compare ch. 21:25, 29). By

reason of its sins Jerusalem had grown ripe for the sickle of the

Divine judgment. By the extent and enormity of its transgressions it had

hastened the time of its doom. In the history of persistent wickedness

there comes a crisis when the evil-doers are ripe for judgment; and

then the Divine executioners go forth against them.

 

 

 

 

·         THE DIVINE VISITATION ON ACCOUNT OF THE PEOPLE’S SINS.

 

Ø      They become a reproach among the nations. “Therefore have I made

thee a reproach unto the nations, and a mocking to all the countries.

Those that be near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee,

thou infamous one and full of tumult.” We noticed (ch. 21:28) how

the Ammonites reproached the people of Judah, and were to be punished

for so doing. Yet although the people of Ammon had no right to

reproach their suffering neighbors, the Jews deserved reproach.

Jerusalem had made itself infamous by its wickedness before it became

a reproach and a mocking unto the nations. “Righteousness exalteth a

nation; but sin is a reproach to any people.”  (Proverbs 14:34)

“The wicked shall be turned into hell and all nations that forget

God.”  (Psalm 9:17)

 

23:40, 42

 

Ø      There is an attraction in cosmopolitanism. (including or containing people

      from many different countries." immigration transformed the city into a

cosmopolitan metropolis" have wide and varied relations with the world,  

synonyms international · multiracial · worldwide · global · universal

      Christianity claims all the earth as its domain.  But the fatal charm is that

of following the example of the various practices

of mankind instead of impressing a Christian influence on the race. This

was Israel’s mistake. Called to carry out a mission to the world, she

succumbed to the spirit of the world. There is great danger lest the Church

should follow her example in this respect. Indeed, this has happened already

to a deplorable extent. A pseudo-liberalism claims to be following the

zeit-geist (the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as

shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time) and so to be adapting

Christianity to the world. This means unfaithfulness to Christ. St.

Paul would be all things to all men, but only that he might win all men to

Christ, never so as to surrender Christ to please the world. That is the

part of a Judas.

 

 

 

23:5A

 

Ø      Base ingratitude. How shameful were the returns which Israel made for

His great kindness to them! Very strikingly is this set forth in Ezekiel 16.

And their conduct has been too closely reproduced by us.

 

o       For His fidelity we have returned unbelief;

o       for His love, coldness of heart;

o       for His beneficence, disobedience.

 

 

Ø      Heinous infidelity. This is the aspect of Israel’s sin to which prominence

is given in the text. In forsaking the Lord God for idols they committed a

treacherous breach of a sacred engagement. Their conduct is an

illustration of the action of those who, having avowed their allegiance

to Him, turn their backs upon Him and upon His cause. Terrible is

their guilt, and deplorable their condition. “It is a miserable thing,”

says Bishop Ryle, “to be a backslider. Of all unhappy things that can

befall a man, I suppose it is the worst. A stranded ship, a broken-winged

eagle, a garden overrun with weeds, a harp without strings, a church in

ruins, — all these are sad sights; but a backslider is a sadder sight still.”

And appalling will be their doom, even “a certain fearful expectation

of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the

adversaries.”   (Hebrews 10:27)  Says Bunyan, “They fall deepest into

hell who fall backwards into hell.” Let backsliders return unto the Lord

while there is yet time. “Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord;

I will not look in anger upon you,” etc. (Jeremiah 3:12, 13,14;

Hosea 14:1-4).

 

 

 

            An Encouraging Assurance for a Depressed People (26:20)

 

“And I shall set glory in the land of the living.” Accepting this rendering as

expressing the meaning of the original, and as applicable to Judah, we see

in it:

 

·         A REMARKABLE DESIGNATION OF THE HOLY LAND. It is here

called “the land of the living.” Hengstenberg views “the land of the living”

as standing in “contrast to Sheol, the land. of the dead, to which in the

foregoing the inhabitants of Tyre are assigned.” The expression seems to

refer particularly to Palestine. The ‘ Speaker’s Commentary’ says, “The

land of the living is the land of the true God, as opposed to the land of the

dead, to which is gathered the glory of the world.” And Matthew Henry,

The holy land is the land of the living; for none but holy souls are properly

living souls.” There was propriety in applying this designation to that land,

because there:

 

Ø      The living God was known and worshipped. “In Judah is God

known: His Name is great in Israel,”  (Psalm 76:1-2); My soul

thirsteth for God, for the living God,” ( ibid. ch. 42:2). The people of

other lands had riches, honors, power; but they were idolaters. Their

gods were no gods, but dead idols. In the highest sense no land can

be called living whose deity or deities are dead, unreal, mere human

inventions. To the people of Judah and Jerusalem the living and true

God had revealed  Himself through law-giver, prophet, and. poet,

and through His hand  in their history as a nation.

 

Ø      The living Word was possessed. The sacred writings of the Jews are far

superior to those of heathen nations.

 

o       They were true: “the Word of truth” (Psalm 119:43, 142, 160).

o       They were vital and lasting: “living oracles” (Acts 7:38);

the Word of the Lord endureth for ever”  (1 Peter 1:23).

o       They were life-giving . “Thy Word hath quickened, me

(Psalm 119:50, 93). Moreover,

o       their Scriptures were light-giving:  “Thy Word is a

            lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”

(Psalm 119:105, 130).

 

Ø      The living ordinances were observed. The pure worship of the living and

true God was instituted and practiced there, and, after the return from the

Captivity, without any admixture of idolatry. Worship, when it is

directed to the true Object and offered in a true spirit, develops and

strengthens the noblest life of the worshipper. To the pious Jews the

means of grace were as “wells of salvation.”  (Isaiah 12:3)  In these

respects, then, Palestine was appropriately called “the land of the

living.” And with even greater fullness and force may the designation

be applied to this favored land of ours.

 

·         AN ENCOURAGING ASSURANCE CONCERNING THE HOLY

LAND. “I shall set glory in the land of the living” Let us look at this

assurance:

 

Ø      In its primary signification. By the side of the utter overthrow of Tyre,

Ezekiel predicts the renewal of the Divine favor and of prosperity to

Jerusalem. Brief as the clause is, it indicates the return of the people of

Judah from captivity to their own land, the rebuilding of the temple of

Jehovah, the re-establishment of religious ordinances, and the restoration

of the sacred city. And all these things were in due season accomplished.

And thus interpreted, the assurance given in the text is the more significant

from the fact that, after their return home, the Jews never obscured the

Divine glory by the practice of idolatry. They neither gave God’s glory to

another nor His praise unto graven images.

 

Ø      In its other and grander signification. The text prophetically points to

the coming of the Messiah and the proclamation of the glorious gospel. In

the work of redemption by Jesus Christ we have a much more illustrious

display of the glory of God than in the return of the exiles from Babylon to

Jerusalem, the rebuilding of the temple, etc. And this glory is ever

increasing amongst men as the triumphs of the gospel are multiplied. The

enemies of the cause of God are being vanquished by truth and love, and

His true kingdom is constantly being established more and more deeply and

widely in this world. And at length “all the earth shall be filled with the

glory of the Lord.”  (Numbers 14:21-23;  Habakkuk 2:14; Isaiah 11:9)

 

·         CONCLUSION. Even in the darkest seasons of its history there is always

a bright and inspiring hope for the true Church of God. By its

unfaithfulness it may bring upon itself severe chastisement from its great

Head; but it shall arise from the dust purified and strengthened, and go

forward in its glorious course, “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, terrible

as an army with banners.”  (Song of Solomon 6:10)

 

 

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