Of the two main divisions of this chapter, the first (vs. 1-20) depicts the
greatness of the overthrow of Gog; the second (vs. 21-29) records the
impression made by it upon both
promise to the former.
In the first main division (vs. 1-20) Ezekiel repeats the substance of
what has already been advanced concerning the defeat of Gog (vs. 1-8),
after which he strives to represent its completeness (vs. 9-20), by setting
land from defilement (vs. 11-16, and
symbolized by a vast sacrificial feast prepared by Jehovah for the beasts
and birds (vs. 17-20).
1 “Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus
saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief
prince of Meshech and Tubal:”
that I have executed” – v. 21
The chief prime of Meshech and Tubal; or, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal
(see on ch.38:2).
2 “And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and
will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee
upon the mountains of
שְׁשֵּׁאתִיך is derived either from the numeral six, שֵׁשׁ, or from the root שָׁשָׁא, the
Import of which is uncertain, although a cognate root in Ethiopic suggests the idea
of “going on” or “proceeding” — a meaning also found in the
Hebrew. The former derivation has been followed by the Authorized
Version, which renders in the margin, “I will strike thee with six plagues,”
or “draw thee back with a hook of six teeth,” and by Hengstenberg, With
whom Plumptre agrees, “1 will six thee,” i.e. “afflict thee with six plagues,”
viz. those mentioned in ch. 38:22. The latter derivation, presumably the more
correct, is adopted by the Septuagint (καθοδογήσω – kathodogaeso), the
Vulgate (educam), the Revised Version (“I will lead thee on”), and by
modern expositors generally. Hitzig and Smend approve of Ewald’s
translation, “I entice thee astray, and lead thee with leading, strings.”
of Gog will be killed – that is 83% of the army that attacks
3 “And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine
arrows to fall out of thy right hand.” Bows and arrows were characteristic
weapons of the Scythians, whom Herodotus (4:46) styles ἱπποτοξόται
(compare Jeremiah 5:16; 6:23; and see note on ch. 38:15).
shalt fall upon the mountains of
bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the
ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be
devoured. 5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it,
saith the Lord GOD. 6 And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them
that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people
the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in
wing. The language depicts an army on the march, followed by jackals,
vultures, and other birds of prey, ready to feast upon the corpses of
slaughtered men (compare ch.33:27; I Samuel 17:46; and
Homer’s ‘Iliad,’ 1:4, 5). In addition to destroying Gog, causing him to fall
upon the mountains of
the face of the field, Jehovah engages to carry the fire of war and generally
of devastation (ch.33:22; Amos 2:2, 5; Revelation 20:29) into Gog’s own land,
Magog (see on ch.38:2), and among them that dwell carelessly (better, securely)
in the isles; or, coast-lands (ch. 27:7); i.e. not merely the merchants of Tarshish or
the “isles” of the trading nations mentioned in ch.38:13 but all the distant
peoples of the coast-lands from whom Gog’s armies were drawn
(Ibid. vs.5-6), and in whom were many of Gog’s sympathizers.
v. 4 – Jackals, vultures, and other birds of prey called to be ready to feast upon
the corpses of slaughtered men.
Connect with v. 17 – where God said He was preparing a “great sacrifice”
Consider the teaching of Revelation 19:17-21
“And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud
voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come
and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the
flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on
them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and
great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies,
gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse,
and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false
prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them
that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his
image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with
brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat
upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the
fowls were filled with their flesh.
Jesus said “For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be
gathered together” – Matthew 24:28
8 “Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the
day whereof I have spoken.” Behold! it is come. The words which a
man might speak on beholding his purpose accomplished are, with Ezekiel’s
bold anthropomorphism, from the mouth of Jehovah.
God’s Purpose Accomplished (v. 8)
The prophet does not dream dreams of idle fancy, build castles in the air,
or terrify men with nightmares of unreal judgments. THE WORD OF
GOD COMES TRUE! The predicted day arrives, the promised action is
performed — “It is come, and it is done.”
light; and light was” (Genesis 1:3). The creative word was with power.
Men plan great things, but they are quite incompetent to carry the best of
them out. The greater the artist is the more he must feel that his execution
falls lamentably short of his design. It is not so with God. When He carries
out His idea in His work it can be said of each stage of creation, “And God
saw that it was good.” He is mighty to perform all His will. (Ibid. vs. 4, 10,
12, 18, 21, 25, “behold, it was very good.” – v. 31)
creation. No human agent could accomplish it, and GOD’S OWN ARM
BROUGHT SALVATION! But though it involved the sacrifice of His Son,
He carried out His great design of redeeming the lost world. The dying Jesus
exclaimed, “It is finished!” The application of this redemption is not yet
complete. The promise concerning this is, “He shall see of the travail of His
soul, and shall be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11). But Peter looked
forward to the grand restitution of all things, when all shall be brought in
subjection to Christ (Acts 3:21). We know that He who has begun a
good work in us is able to finish it (Philippians 1:6).
redemption, it cannot be supposed that He will fail to carry them out in
regard to judgment. Delay is no proof of failure, for the long-promised
Messiah was slow to appear, yet in due time Christ was born. The mercy of
God is no sign of the failure of judgment, for God was as merciful when
He threatened wrath as He will be when the time comes for executing the
threat. The day of judgment, that dreadful “day of the Lord,” as the
prophets called it, came to the nations and to
Assuredly it will come, and its work will be done also among all sinners.
patriarch did not live to reap their accomplishment. Yet God was true to
His word. All the might of
designs. He has great purposes for His people now. Satan may oppose the
execution of them; sin, unbelief, and worldliness may rise up against them.
Yet God will not desert His own inheritance. Indeed, He does now
accomplish His gracious providential designs in spite of all opposition.
more slow to realize itself. That is the region of human will. There man is
free to resist its demands for obedience. God’s kingdom has not yet fully
come, his will is not yet done on earth as it is in heaven. But we pray for
this glorious consummation. It is our duty to labor to help it on. If God’s
design is accomplished in every other respect, it is monstrous for man’s
stubborn will to hold out against it. The spirit of the life of Christ — “Lo, I
come to do thy will, O God” (Psalm 40:8) is the spirit which should animate
they that dwell in the cities of
set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers,
the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and
they shall burn them with fire seven years: 10 So that they shall take
no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for
they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that
spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD.”
Here is set forth as the first proof of the greatness of Gog’s overthrow by
the immense booty in the shape of weapons of war which should be
obtained by the inhabitants of the cities of
quantity of weapons left behind by the slain, that the Israelites should burn
them with fire seven
so completely lose their power to terrify that they might be looked upon
simply as so much firewood; as designed to annihilate the enemy and remove
every trace of him. The emphasis lies upon the length of time the burning
should continue; and that this was intended, by conveying an idea of the
vastness of the spoil, to represent the thoroughness of Gog’s destruction
appears from the number of years the weapons are said to serve for fuel,
viz. seven, and from the character of the weapons themselves, which, if not
entirely wooden, were at least all combustible. Of the “armor” generally
(qv,n,, “something joined,” from a root signifying “to join”) the pieces
mentioned — the shields and the bucklers (see ch.38:4), the
bows and arrows (see v. 3), the hand-staves, or, javelins (margin),
and the spears — were mostly composed of timber. When all should have
been given to the flames, it would then appear that on their late owners
the lex talionis (law of retaliation) had worked out its literal avengement,
that they who had intended to despoil
they who hoped to plunder
Vs. 11-16 contain a second proof of the completeness of Gog’s destruction,
viz. the length of time occupied in burying the slain and cleansing the land.
11 “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a
place there of graves in
east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and
there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude: and they shall call
of acquiring the entire mastery of her land, would obtain at Jehovah’s hands
only a place there of graves. Concerning both the designation and
the site of this divinely provided sepulcher controversy has arisen.
(II Kings 23:29), derives support from these considerations, that the very
as are here described, and that its modern designation Lejun (Leqio), in all
probability contains a reminiscence of the present passage. It is, however,
open to the obvious objections that the place of Gog’s burial was not
contiguous to the field of his overthrow, and that the clause locating it “on
the east of the sea,” by which on this hypothesis must be understood the
spot therein. Some think the valley in the neighborhood of the
but interpreters are not unanimous as to the spot intended. Ewald thinks
of “the horrible, unwholesome valley over against the sea, i.e. (compare
ch. 47:8) the
ones (die Zerreisenden), THE SODOMITES, who resemble these.”
(Whether this is so or not, it certainly is consistent with the way God
works when He “taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” -
I Corinthians 3:19 – Overbearing today is the promotion of the
gay agenda by
proponents. For the end to which it is heading see arkdiscovery.com
and on it
the section dealing with
to this day are suffering the “vengeance of eternal fire!” – Jude 1:7 –
CY – 2014).
(play on words) is apparent; but whether threefold or only twofold is
uncertain. In the present verse μyrib][Oh; may signify either:
Ø such travelers as were wont to pass through the valley, which is
the obvious and natural interpretation; or
Ø the warriors of Gog, who intended to pass through the
land, but whose invasion had only proved a passing storm; or
Ø the commissioners who should be appointed to pass through the
land in search of bones (ver. 15).
The notion of Ewald, who derives עֹבִרִים from עֶבְרָה, and translates “haughty,”
“overbearing,” meaning the Gogites, is countenanced by no ether expositor. If the
first sense be taken, then the verse will read, “The valley of the passers through,
and it (the valley, in consequence of having become the grave of Gog) stops
(the way of) the passers through;” i.e. it becomes thereafter impassable for
travelers; or, it stops the noses, or breath, of such travelers by reason of its
horrible stench. If the second meaning be selected, the valley must be understood
to have afterwards received its name from the fact that Gog’s warriors lay
entombed beneath its sod, and “the stopping of the passengers” to signify that
whereas Gog purposed to overrun the land, his destructive career was there
ignominiously arrested. If the third rendering be preferred, then the valley
will be held to have derived its designation, after the event, from the passing
through it or through the land of the searchers, in which case the stopping of
the passengers can only have alluded to the fact that, as the “buriers”
proceeded with the work of interment, they were compelled to turn away
their faces and stop their noses because of the noisome effluvium which
arose from the corpses. The first interpretation is the best, though the first
and second might be combined by making the first “passengers” stand for
the travelers and the second for the invaders, whose career should there be
stopped; and to this view a certain countenance is lent by the statements
which follow, that there should Gog and all his multitude — literally, all
his noisy tumult — be buried, and that the valley ever afterwards should
bear the name of Hamon-gog, or, Gog’ s multitude.
seven months shall the house of
that they may cleanse the land. 13 Yea, all the people of the land shall
bury them; and it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified,
saith the Lord GOD.” The time that should be occupied in Gog’s funeral should
be seven months — so great should be the number of the dead — the
sacred number seven recalling the seven years consumed in the burning of
the weapons (v. 9), and reminding one of the “seven times heated”
furnace into which the Hebrew children were cast, and of the “seven times”
of Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation (Daniel 3:19; 4:23). The parties who
should conduct his obsequies should be the house of
people of the land, indicating the common joy occasioned by the barbaric
chieftain’s overthrow. The motive which should impel them in their work
would be a desire to cleanse the land from the defilement it had
contracted from the corpses of the slain (compare Numbers 19:11,22;
31:19; 35:33); and the end should be that the work should be to them,
a renown, not because they should have helped to bury Gog, or through
burying Gog should have proved themselves his conquerors, and in virtue
of Jehovah’s protection the possessors of his grave, but because in the day
when Jehovah glorified Himself through Gog’s destruction, He (Jehovah)
should also be glorified by
people by sweeping all uncleanness away.
14 “And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing
through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain
upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven
months shall they search.” When the work of burying Gog should have
gone on for seven months, at the end of that time the Israelites should
sever out (compare Deuteronomy 10:8) men of continual employment;
literally, men of continuance; i.e. persons hired for a continuous work or
devoted to a constant occupation, whose business it should be passing
through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain — or,
as the Revised Version reads, to bury them that pass through, that remain —
upon the face of the land. Here, again, the old play upon the word
“passengers” recurs, and with it two or three difficulties.
officers, “passers through,” or “searchers,” who scoured the land in search
of unburied skeletons or bones, which, however, they did not bury; and
“buriers” proper, who, accompanying these searchers, conducted the
interment of such skeletons or bones as were found; or whether the
commissioners were only one body, who both searched and buried.
sign of the accusative, and the clause translated as in the Revised Version,
in which case the “passengers” that should be buried could only be the
“invaders” as above (see v. 11); or as a preposition, in which case the
rendering of the Authorized Version must stand, and the “passengers” be
regarded as the “searchers.”
of v. 15, “And the passengers shall search and pass through in the land;”
or at least whether the first clause in v. 15 should not form an independent
sentence, thus: “And they that pass through in the land shall pass through,”
as in the Revised Version, in which case the sighting of unburied bones
(v. 15) would not necessarily be the work of “searchers,” but of any one,
the verb וְרָאָה being impersonal. It is impossible to decide dogmatically
in a question of so much difficulty; but the Revised Version appears to
present the most exact rendering of the Hebrew, and upon the whole the
most intelligible account of what was intended to take place, viz. the
appointment of a special body of commissioners, who should be designated
both “passengers,” in ironical allusion to Gog who had meant to pass through
the land, and “buffers,” from the nature of the task delegated to them, viz.
the interment of the “passengers,” i.e. the Gogites, and who should begin
their work after the main body of the slain had been removed, i.e. at the
end of the seven months of burying.
15 “And the passengers that pass through the land, when any seeth a
man’s bone, then shall he set up a sign by it, till the buriers have
buried it in the
these “searchers” and “buriers,” should follow. If these were distinct from
each other, the “searchers” — if they were the same, any others — on
discovering a man’s bone should set up a sign by it; literally, build near it a pillar;
erect a heap of stone (compare II Kings 23:17; Jeremiah 31:21) to call the
attention of the butlers, who, on coming to the spot, should inter it in the
valley of Hamon-gog.
16 “And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they
cleanse the land.” As another mark to distinguish Gog’s tomb, a city should
arise in its vicinity, bearing the name Hamonah, or “Multitude” (compare
Isaiah 19:18, “the city of destruction”), though Schmieder thinks it
must have been “a city of graves,” since a city of houses could not exist in
such a valley of the dead, and indeed the Septuagint gives as the city’s name
Πολυάνδριον – Poluandrion - by which later Greek writers were accustomed
to call the common ground in a cemetery as distinguished from its paternal
sepulchers. If quite improbable that Bethshan or Scythopolis near
was Ezekiel’s Hamonah, it is possible the actual city may have been named
after the ideal. When the work of the buriers should be finished, the land
would be completely cleansed.
Vs. 17-20 exhibit in a third way the severity of Gog’s overthrow by
setting forth the bloody carnage which should attend it.
17 “And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every
feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come;
gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even
a great sacrifice upon the mountains of
blood.” Expanding the thought of v. 4, and borrowing the imagery of the older
prophets, Isaiah (Isaiah 34:6; 56:9) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 46:10; 50:29; 51:40),
Ezekiel represents Gog’s destruction as a great sacrifice — literally, slaying; hence
a sacrificial feast or simply banquet (as in Genesis 31:54) — upon the mountains
of Israel, prepared by Jehovah for the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field,
which He, therefore, invites to come from all quarters to eat flesh and drink blood.
18 “Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the
princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks,
all of them fatlings of
drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for
you. 20 Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with
mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD.” V. 18 specifies
the victims whose flesh and blood should form their banquet, viz. the mighty,
as in ch.32:12, 27, and the princes of the earth, meaning the nobles and other
dignitaries in Gog’s army, who, in accordance with the symbol of a feast, are
spoken of as “rams,” “lambs,” “goats,” “bullocks,”
(compare Psalm 22:12). Revelation 19:17-18). In Zephaniah 1:7 the heathen
are the guests, and his people the victims, at Jehovah’s banquet.
Degradation and Reversal (vs. 17-20)
The scene before us is painful; it hardly befits description; we cannot dwell
upon it without turning from it with repulsion. But we may so far realize it
in our thought as to learn two lessons respecting the issue of evil, the sad
and painful consequences of sin. These are:
field eating the flesh and drinking the blood “of the princes of the earth”!
To what a miserable and shameful death has human greatness, human
dignity, fallen! For those who had sat on the loftiest seats of honor, and
moved in the highest spheres of action, to lie unburied on the enemy’s soil,
and to furnish a meal for carrion birds and for “four-footed beasts”! Could
dishonor or degradation go further than this? And is not degradation the
constant end of persistent wrong, of willful and wanton disobedience to the
Word of God? And shall we not acknowledge, when we think of it, that
some of those things which seem to most men allowable, and some which
seem even honorable and desirable, are, in the sight of God, deplorable and
condemnable, because they are really A DEGRADATOPM AND A
DESCENT! This is so when:
Ø The powers of the human soul are exhausted upon very small things;
when men seek their chief satisfaction, not in their relationship to God,
in their service of Christ, but in the petty honors and conventional
proprieties, and sensuous gratifications of this passing world. (“Love
not the world, neither the things that are in the world……..For all
that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and
the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the
world passeth away, and the lust thereof:” – I John 2:15-17). To allow
the things of utter unimportance to absorb the manifold and noble
powers of heart and mind, leaving no room for the heavenly and the
Divine, is surely A PITIFUL DEGRADATION! . Men do not know,
they cannot see, how they are lowering their life, how they are
dishonoring themselves. Similarly and more obviously when:
Ø The lower passions tyrannize over the soul; when covetousness, or the
craving for alcoholic (today recreational drugs – CY – 2014) or for
social excitement, or the demon of lust, or jealousy, or overweening
and maddening ambition, possesses the soul and leads it astray;
any one of these passions wilt lead a man down into VERY
DARK DEPTHS, he has become the prey of the spoiler.
Ø Human life is reduced to a pursuit of mere amusement or passing
gratification (A Nintendo game – CY – 2014 - to quote a
modern hip-hopper – “Yesterday is gone forever, tomorrow will never
be here so live for today. Life comes and goes so fast that you sometime
wonder how long they are going to last. Sometimes you hardly notice you
are alive. Everyday is a beautiful day, so, slow down a bit and make plan
for the rest of your life. Don't waste your time doing things you would'nt
like to do. There will be no next time. ______ has said it all. Life is not
like a nintendo game. Waste your time and you'll see how you can loose
your precious life - so did to me, but I have learnt my own lesson.
I only hope it will be of any use again) (Sounds to me like David’s
last words – II Samuel 23:1-5 – CY – 2014)
o The forces of a country are employed, not in the enrichment and the
elevation of the people, but in fighting the armies and despoiling the
strength and wealth of neighboring powers.
sacrifice for men. Here, however, the case is reversed, and men provide a
sacrifice for them. Properly, men sit down to the table on which bird and
beast are set forth for food; here, however, men are placed upon the table,
and bird and beast are the partakers. What a strange and pitiful reversal!
But under the dominion of sin, what do we look for but anomalies and
Ø Instead of man moving constantly upward, we find him moving
Ø Instead of habit being the faithful and valuable servant of man, it
becomes its tyrannous and unrelenting master.
Ø Instead of asking how we can serve men at every turn and in every
possible way, we ask how we can use them, how we can make them
Ø Instead of our seeking God with the eagerness that will not be denied,
we hold aloof or wander away, and He is seeking us with a patience
that does not fail and that follows us through many rebellious years.
Ø Instead of the felt nearness of God being a heritage and a joy, it
becomes an inconvenience and an intrusion.
Ø Instead of death being regarded as the beginning of the larger and better
life, it is treated as the melancholy end of the life on earth. But Christ
comes to revolutionize and reverse the anomalies and the reverses of sin;
and thus to bring again the primeval blessedness. Happy they who
learn of Him and follow Him, for they will be restored to the truth
and the life which they have lost!
Vs, 21-29 record the impression Gog’s overthrow should make upon
21 And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen
shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I
have laid upon them. 22 So the
the LORD their God from that day and forward.” What should convince
them of this would be their triumph and deliverance through Gog’s annihilation.
God’s Glory among the Heathen (v. 21)
It may be a light thing to us that His Name is unknown or dishonored
among the heathen; but it is no light matter m the sight of God. He does
not confine His gaze to the little spot of light where He is recognized and
loved. He is the Creator of the universe, and He is concerned with what
happens everywhere throughout His dominion. Consider why He desires
His glory to be spread among the heathen.
Ø For its own sake. God cares for His glory and desires to be glorified.
Such a conception applied to a man would suggest selfishness. This
is not the case with God, because His glory resides in His goodness.
The spread of His glory is the vindication of righteousness. The eternal
claims of holiness demand assertion. To suppress them is to give the
victory to sin; to spread the glory of God is to assert them.
Ø For the sake of the heathen. Ignorance of God’s glory is their loss. To
know God is life eternal. It is for the supreme good of men that they
should understand their heavenly Father. “Acquaint now thyself with
Him, and be at peace” (Job 22:21).
Ø In judgments. This seems to be the method suggested in the chapter
now under consideration. The restoration of
overthrow of her enemies will strike dismay into the host of the enemy,
and so impress them with the might and majesty of the true God. This is
a fearful process in the eyes of the heathen, and yet it is educational, and
may help to lead them out of superstition and foolish opposition to wiser
ways. God arrests the careless now by His judgments.
Ø In the gospel. When the gospel is preached to the heathen God’s glory is
revealed among them — surely the happier method of making it known.
This was already foreshadowed in Old Testament times (Isaiah 52:15).
It was in part accomplished by the labors of Paul. Now, we must ever
bear in mind that this is God’s work. Though human agents preach the
gospel, God Himself shows forth His glory in His truth. He too awakens
the souls of the hearers by His Spirit. All perception of the glory of God
comes from HIS OWN REVELATION OF HIMSELF!
GLORY AMONG THE HEATHEN. We sometimes hear missionary
enterprises described as quixotic schemes of amiable fanatic, and so-called
practical people tell us that we had much better spend our money and our
energies in endeavoring to better the condition of the poor of our own
cities. “These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone”
(Matthew 23:23). It is Christ’s command that His gospel should be
preached to all people, and whether our wisdom commend the command
or not, if we are true Christians it is our plain duty to render unquestioning
obedience (Matthew 28:19). But the heathen need the knowledge of
the truth of Christ. Experience proves that the most ignorant and the most
cultivated can both receive it and profit by it. (“…it shall be for those:
the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” - Isaiah 35:8).
There is no more practical work than that of wise labor in the missionary field.
It is the bounden duty of all Christians to support it. The Church that has no
missionary spirit is not Christian, for it has not the Spirit of Christ.
the heathen shall know that the house of
captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me,
therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of
their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. 24 According to their
uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them,
and hid my face from them.” And the heathen shall know. The special lesson
for them should be not so much teaching concerning God’s supremacy over
them, or concerning their relation to
God’s dealings with
been abandoned to the sword and driven into exile, it was not because of
Jehovah’s inability to protect them, but because of their wickedness which
had caused Him to hide His face from them — an expression which in
Ezekiel occurs only here and in v. 29, though it is found in the
Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 31:17-18) and in the older prophets
(Isaiah 8:17; 54:8; 57:17; 64:7; Jeremiah 33:5).
This section (vs. 25-29) is in substance a recapitulation of God’s gracious promise
again the captivity of
reminded in v. 23, and to which accordingly he now in thought goes back. It traces
the whole course of the Divine dealings with the nation from the point of the exile
Sin and Its Consequences (vs. 23-24)
mystery. We instinctively shrink from death as the last dread enemy, but
death is not so great a foe as sin. We must go to the Bible for a revelation
of sin in its extent and its depth. The Greeks were acute thinkers on most
subjects connected with human experience, but they were singularly obtuse
to moral distinctions. (Same
for at least half of contemporary
CY – 2014) In the Bible we see a true mirror held up to the
world’s sin. There we discover that events, which the secular historians
would ascribe to political causes, have moral causes behind them. Thus the
Captivity would seem to the eye of ordinary observers to be a natural result
of the fanatical patriotism of a little mountain kingdom —
of antiquity — when opposed to the irresistible march of a great
conquering empire. But more lay behind. The corruption of the Jews made
them an easy prey to their enemy, and their sin deprived them of the
providential protection of God. This sin is seen in four aspects.
Ø In relation to righteousness. It is iniquity. It is falling short of what is
right, an unjust treatment of life, a living lie. The sinner is unequal.
He does not truly balance his life. His whole being is corrupted and
Ø In relation to God. It is a trespass against Him. The prodigal confesses
that he has sinned against Heaven, as well as in his father’s sight (Luke
15:21). David even describes the murder of Uriah as a sin against God
only, so utterly does the transgression of God’s Law swallow up all other
considerations (Psalm 51:4). Whenever we sin we directly rebel against
our Father. Sin always has this ugly personal feature.
Ø In relation to purity. Uncleanness.
Ø In relation to law. Transgression.
Ø The loss of the vision of God. “Therefore hid I my face from them.” This
is the first consequence of sin. It is reaped immediately the soul falls away
from God. Without holiness it is impossible to see Him (Matthew 5:8;
Hebrews 12:14). To some it may seem a light penalty. Like Adam and Eve,
they may even try to hide themselves from God. But the attempt is vain,
because, though we may easily lose sight of God, He never ceases to behold
us. Moreover, though we may not be aware of our loss, it is not the less great.
But to the sensitive soul this spiritual consequence of sin is most bitter to
endure. Such a one will beseech God not to hide His countenance, and will
cry, “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11). All joy and hope
vanish from the Christian life when the sweet vision of God is darkened by
Ø Fearful external ruin. “And gave them into the hand of their enemies: so
fell they all by the sword.” If men do not care for the present spiritual
consequences of sin, other more easily recognized consequences will
follow. The most blunt and hardened soul can be made to quake under
the wrath of God.
In conclusion, observe that all this was to be known to the heathen,
due to their prowess;
punishment of sin. But He also points out a way of escape in Jesus Christ,
who came to save His people from their sins.
The Divine Reason for
that God has redeemed to Himself and appointed to everlasting life. In
every dispensation, in all God’s dealings with men, there has been THE
MANIFESTATION OF WISDOM. Nothing that God has done has been done
without a purpose or an intention. Faith convinces us of this. And Scripture
sometimes, as in this passage, gives us an insight into the Divine counsels,
and points out to us the particular reasons by which the action of Eternal
Wisdom has been actuated in the treatment which we have received,
especially in so far as we have sinned against God and done wickedly.
forth: “iniquity,” “trespass,” “uncleanness,” “transgression.” By these
various terms the Lord, speaking by His prophet, denotes our attitude in
respect to God, in respect to moral law, in respect to the ideal of perfect
human conduct. Nationally and individually,
this by a remarkable idiom: “I hid my face from them.” The metaphor is
simple. As favor is denoted by an open, radiant, smiling countenance, so
the veiling or averting of the face which is clouded with a frown denotes
censure and dissatisfaction. Making proper allowance for the imperfections
of human speech, and the impossibility of using adequate language when
referring to the Supreme, we may assuredly say that there is nothing in this
representation derogatory to God. It is no infirmity, but a perfection of our
Divine Ruler, that He is not indifferent to the moral conduct of His subjects.
He is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11). He cannot look
upon sin. (Habakkuk 1:13)
RETRIBUTION. “I gave them into the hands of their adversaries;”
“According to their transgressions did I unto them.” There were many
forms of chastisement from which
sorest. David entreated the Lord that, whatever might happen to him, he
might not be delivered into the hands of his enemies. It was an enfeebling
and an humiliating form of chastisement which God’s people were called
upon to endure The attacks of the foe may not have been in themselves
justifiable, but the Ruler of nations (as is shown nowhere more effectively
than in this book) employs instruments to fulfill His purposes that are
animated by no desire for justice and for the
surrounding nations were employed as the scourge by which the culprits
remarkable that the chosen people of Jehovah, whose nationality was
cradled (so to speak) in the bondage of
afterwards, to endure the bitter humiliation of exile and captivity in the
East. They “went into captivity for their iniquity.” Punishment is thus
declared to be a characteristic of Divine government when dealing with the
sinful and rebellious. There were certain ends answered by the special form
when the people returned, they returned free from the taint of idolatry and
from all temptation to return to the heathen practices into which they had
been misled. Still, it was punishment which they endured — punishment for
past offences, as well as correction with a view to future obedience and
subjection. They learned by bitter experience that “the way of transgressors
is hard.” (Proverbs 13:15)
25 “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the
captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole
and will be jealous for my holy name;” I will bring again the captivity of Jacob.
(For the use of “Jacob” as a designation of the people, see ch.28:25; 37:25.) The
promise goes back to Deuteronomy 30:3; Jeremiah 29:14; 30:3; 31:23; 32:44;
and other passages. That its fulfillment began with the return
terminate with the final ingathering of
conversion to Christianity, and her consequent admission to the Church.
That its first cause will be “mercy” to the whole house of
prevent that cause from being at the same time a jealous regard for the
Divine holiness (ch.36:21-22).
26 “After that they have born their shame, and all their trespasses
whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely
in their land, and none made them afraid. 27 When I have brought
them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’
lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;
28 Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused
them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have
gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any
more there.” After they have borne their shame (ch.16:52, 54; 32:24, 30;
34:29; 36:6). The captivity of
had been thoroughly chastised for their iniquities, and that chastisement had
wrought in them a spirit of penitence and a disposition towards obedience.
Then should Jehovah interpose for their deliverance by gathering them out of
their enemies’ lands and leading them back to their own land; and these two
experiences, the Captivity and the Restoration, the driving out and the bringing in,
should complete their conversion to Jehovah, and secure their perpetual enjoyment
of Jehovah’s favor.
29 “Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured
out my spirit upon the house of
my Spirit upon the
in His people (ch.36:27; 37:14); now the fact that He has implemented that promise
a copious effusion of the same He
cites as a proof that
His favor because no more shall she forsake His ways (Isaiah 59:21). The same
promise had been previously given by Joel (Joel 2:28), and was afterwards renewed
by Zechariah (Zechariah 12:10). The citation of Joel’s words by Peter on the
Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17) shows that he regarded the remarkable effusion of
THE HOLY GHOST on that memorable occasion as a fulfillment of the premise
here recorded by Ezekiel. Yet the promise was not then exhausted. Rather it has
often since been implemented, and will doubtless receive its consummation in
the New Jerusalem. No historical Church, Jewish or Gentile, has ever yet realized
the picture here sketched by Ezekiel. We ask, as before — Will it ever be realized
on earth? or must we look for it only in the heavenly city whose Builder and
Maker is God?”
The restored vision of God is the great; we may say the supreme and final, result
of the Restoration of
farms and villages, with temporal prosperity, the prophet teaches them that, though
these advantages are to be received in the good time coming, a better
blessing wilt be the restored vision of God enjoyed by means of the pouring
out of his Spirit upon the house of
most spiritual, result of CHRIST’S REDEMPTION OF THE WORLD!
God’s Revelation of Himself a Fount of Blessing (vs. 21-29)
Ignorance of God and strength of animal appetite are THE TWO PRIMAL
FOUNTS OF UNGODLINESS! Animal appetite is, in order of time, the
first source of vice; but as the understanding opens to receive knowledge, this
source of evil may be checked. To this end God deigns to make Himself known.
A clear vision of God is a strong antidote to EVIL PROPENSITY! Faith in
God is the great regenerative principle. Therefore, through the procession of the
ages, God has been revealing His qualities and excellences to our race. From this
passage we learn:
Such men in
attribute the prosperity of their kingdom and their success in war to the
power of their deities. Others, and probably the larger portion, would
conclude that military fortunes were matters of chance, and that the gods
took little, if any, interest in the affairs of men. Human industry, sagacity,
and courage, — these seemed then, as now, the main factors in success.
The general impression was that the gods lived in remote serenity,
sublimely indifferent to the needs and strifes of men. Unbelief, violence,
and stoicism followed. Our God took pains to dispel this mistake. The
living God takes a Fatherly interest in every man — in his personal,
domestic, and national concerns. Not a hair of his head can be touched
without the cognizance of God. He administers joy and sorrow, success
and disappointment, with judicious care. The God of heaven manifests a
friendly activity in all human affairs, as great as if this globe were the sole
object of His care. “In all our afflictions He is afflicted.” (Isaiah 63:9)
BLESSING. It was God’s endeavor to make it clear to the world that
was by the interposition of Jehovah. Their successful march through the
desert was due to the leadership of God. Their triumphal march through
as they loyally served Him He smiled upon their fields and gave them prolific
harvests. As often as they forsook Him disaster befell them. If they asked
His guidance He directed them in the choice of a King. From His hand they
had personal liberty, just laws, beneficent government, agricultural plenty,
national security, and the joys of ennobling religion. He taught their “hands
to war, their fingers to fight” (Psalm 144:1). Unless the Hebrews were as
blind as a doorpost, they must have perceived that every good they had
came from the liberal hand of Jehovah. To them he was the Fountain of life.
(“Every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from
the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither
shadow of turning.” – James 1:17)
WORKER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. “The heathen shall know that the
sight of the fact that God
had raised up
world the righteousness of God. The Hebrews were ordained to educate
the world in the truths and principles of righteousness. They were
appointed to be par excellence a moral people, a nation in whom
conscience was highly developed. The gods of paganism were renowned
for strength and for cunning. The idea of righteousness they had not
deified. Hence Jehovah was concerned to be known as essential purity. To
Him sin is intolerable — the root of all discord and all misery. The exile was
no haphazard. It was Divine punishment for grievous sin. Defeat in war
was the rod of God’s righteous anger. Hence also the Jewish subjugation
would not be permanent. The element of life was in the people still; and, as
soon as repentance and moral renovation appeared, return to independence
PREPARATORY TO THE GREAT REVELATION OF HIS GRACE.
“Therefore thus saith the Lord, Now will I… have mercy upon the whole
His compassion — pure, unstinted, self-sacrificing love. To Moses, who
craved to see God’s glory, the responding voice proclaimed, “The Lord
God, merciful and gracious” (Exodus 34:6). Micah asked, in profound
surprise, “Who is a God like unto thee?” (Micah 7:18) In what respect
did he mean? In the splendors of His kingly state? In the might of His arm?
In the range of His government? Nay. “Who is a God like unto thee, that
pardoneth iniquity, transgression, and sin?” (Ibid.) Herein lies the central
excellence of Jehovah, viz. that, providing for the violated interests of justice
BY HIS OWN SUFFERING, He freely forgives, renovates, and uplifts the
guilty sons of men. Men have not seen the full significance of his Name,
nor conjectured the dazzling radiance of His goodness, until they have
seen HIS MERCY — seen Him as the Healer of the fallen. But His mercy
is a righteous mercy. Whom He pardons, He purifies. Righteousness is the
foundation on which He erects the magnificent structure of His grace.
So far as we know at present, this is the climax of His self-revelations.
GUARANTEED BY THE GIFT OF HIS SPIRIT. “Neither will I hide my
face any more from them; for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house
outside a man depends upon the state of feeling and desire within a man.
And a right state of mind Godward is secured to the genuine Israelite by
THE INDWELLING OF GOD’S MIGHTY SPIRIT! If men cannot
withstand temptation in their native and unaided state, God will not leave
them to themselves. As the supreme culmination of all blessing, God will
impart Himself to humble, suppliant men. He will weave His own Spirit
into our spirit. He will unite Himself with us by indissoluble bonds —
will pour His life into the empty channels of our nature. His great salvation
is first internal, then external. We cannot miss our highest destiny if God,
by His Spirit, be within us. Then, surely, we have the highest guarantee of
safety, elevation, and noble joy. We shall be renovated in the very root-
principles of our nature, molded into a higher life by the silent workmanship
of His Spirit. (“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto
unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk
in them.” - Ephesians 2:10). His mercy will never forsake us.
The reader of this passage cannot but be impressed with the conviction that
has reference, not only to
interest in it is not merely historical; it is personal and moral. There is a
largeness, a fullness, in the promises given, which can scarcely be exhausted by
the immediate reference to the return from the Oriental captivity.
SAME POWER THAT DECREED CAPTIVITY. “He that scattereth
He also who heals. The righteous Ruler and Judge who visits transgression
with penalties proves Himself to be the God to whom belong forgivenesses.
He is not indifferent to sin; yet He delights in mercy. Men are wont to
picture to themselves a Deity all wrath or all benignity. But revelation
shows us, in that Supreme Being who hates sin and who corrects the
sinner, “the Savior of all men, specially of them that believe.” (I Timothy
ASSURED TO THE RESTORED. To
they should, upon their return, dwell safely in their land, and none should
make them afraid. We know that this promise was only partially realized,
and that it must accordingly, so far as it refers to
comparative; the people enjoyed a measure of security and peace beyond
what they had experienced or could expect to experience. It is right to
regard prosperity and all external blessings as the gift of God s goodness.
And whether enjoyed now in this Christian dispensation or in the period of
millennial happiness to which the Church looks forward, it must ever be
considered as the gift of Divine bounty and the expression of Divine love.
EXPRESSION OF GOD’S FAVOR TO THE RESTORED.
Ø These blessings are conveyed by the outpouring of the Spirit of God. It
is impossible to do other than refer this event to the Day of Pentecost,
and to the dispensation of the Spirit which was then inaugurated. Other
prophets concurred with Ezekiel in this prediction; and Peter
authoritatively recognized the fulfillment of such prophetic words in the
bestowal of the promise of the Father, and in that effusion which
commenced at Pentecost, BUT WHICH HAS NEVER CEASED!
Ø These blessings are equivalent to the manifestation of the Divine favor.
The Lord’s promise was no more to hide His face from His restored
ones. We know that
to the restoration; and that, on account of the rejection of the Messiah,
constrained to refer this promise to the accepted people of God, to
whom is no condetonation, and who walk in the light of
Ø These blessings are the occasion of the acknowledgment and of the
hallowing of the Lord’s Name. As is ever the case, God is Himself
made the End of all. All things are of Him and to Him. (Romans 9:36)
His Divine hand is recognized. He is glorified both by the affliction and by
the elevation of His own. All nations and all ages are summoned to behold
THE WORK OF THE LORD, to submit to His power and to adore
His wisdom. His treatment of His own people does not end with them;
it is designed for THE INSTRUCTION AND HIGHEST BENEFIT OF
MANKIND! There shall thus be made known by the Church the manifold
wisdom of God. (Ephesians 3:10)
The Glorious Restoration (vs. 25-29)
Ø The people of God. This is promised for the Jews, the ancient people
of God. God does not forget His people in their captivity any more
than He forgot them in their Egyptian bondage. Now, we know that
God regards the whole human race as one family (Acts 17:26).
Though many reject Him and many know Him not, He cares for all.
As all belong by right to their heavenly Father, so the perfect restoration
in Christ is now offered to ALL MEN!
Ø Sinners. This gracious promise is not only for the unfortunate — like the
account of their own wickedness. This fact shows:
o the grace of God, who is willing to be reconciled to His worst
foes, to pardon His rebel subjects, to receive back His lost and
disgraced children; and
o the hope of the world. The peculiarity of the mission of Christ
was that He came to seek and to save that which was lost. The
most degraded may hope to share in the glorious restoration of
God’s saving work. God brought back the captivity of
Nebuchadnezzar was his servant for punishment, Cyrus was even his
“Messiah” for restoration (Isaiah 45:1). The great restoration of souls
is GOD’S WORK! He does not wait for men to regenerate their own
characters (“…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” - Romans
5:8), and then consent to give them a welcome home. He Himself
effects the regeneration. It was God’s thought to send His Son to be the
Savior of the world. (Revelation 13:8) This Divine action springs:
o from God’s mercy;
o from his jealousy for His holy Name.
God is most glorified in saving his people. Righteousness is most
Honored not by the punishment of sin, but by the cure of it.
Ø On condition of confession. “And they shall take upon them their shame,
and all their trespass which they have committed against me.” The
restored Jews will own the guilt of the sin that drove them into captivity.
Thus the chastisement will produce its bitter but wholesome fruit. God
only forgives sin on condition of man’s confession (1 John 1:9). When
the penitent takes the shame of his sin GOD REMOVES THE
GUILT OF IT!
Ø Return to the old home and its privileges. The Jews came back to
Human inheritance which he has lost by sin. Science, art, literature,
social and domestic life, etc., will be enjoyed at their best when men
are REGENERATED IN HEART! The earth will never yield her
choicest increase UNTIL THE PEOPLE OF GOD INHERIT IT!
But with these secular advantages, and far above them, is
restoration to the spiritual home — to the kingdom of heaven here,
to the glory of heaven hereafter.
Ø Peace and security. “When they dwell safely in their land, and none
make them afraid.” This suggests a striking contrast to the former
the least being those of their own household in the long feud between
the northern and the southern kingdoms. That feud was now ended
forever. Still, the subsequent time was scarcely one of solid security.
We must look to the spiritual restoration for the perfect accomplishment
of the happy vision. The redeemed people of God enjoy peace and safety.
Christ said, “My peace I give unto you” (John 14:27).
Ø Closer communion with God. Then they shall know God better than
before, with the knowledge of experience, and enjoy the never-failing
light of his countenance. This is the Christian’s highest privilege.
"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.
Materials are reproduced by permission."
This material can be found at:
If this exposition is helpful, please share with others.