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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ezekiel delivers More Messages from God


Ezekiel delivers More Messages from God



God called Ezekiel to be His prophet and deliver His messages to the Jewish people during their darkest hours.  Jerusalem had fallen to the Babylonians and the city and temple were later destroyed.  The citizens of Jerusalem along with Ezekiel had been carried off to Babylon as slaves in 597 B.C. and Ezekiel was living in captivity in Babylon when he delivered God’s messages to his fellow Jews. 


Because there is much in the book of Ezekiel that is mysterious, dark and hard to understand, the Jewish religious leaders forbade their young men under thirty from reading the book.  Ezekiel is a book of symbolic actions and flamboyant visions and some of the visions merge from scenes of what was happening back then (595 B.C.) to what would be happening in the end times and afterwards on the new earth!    


Much of the book of Ezekiel warns and foretells of God’s judgments and punishments that will soon come upon the Jewish people because of their rebellion.  God is jealous that His beloved people have forgotten Him and have turned to worshipping idols and He angrily confronts them through Ezekiel’s visions and preaching.  But alas, they don’t listen! 


 So Ezekiel is un-popular with his fellow Jews because he faithfully tells them what God has told him to say and they don’t want to hear what he is saying! The Jewish tradition has it that because of his unpopular preaching, Ezekiel was put to death by the Jewish captives in Babylon and his brains scattered on the ground when he was murdered!  If this is true, Ezekiel is just one of many thousands who have paid with their lives because they were faithful to God’s call.    


Ezekiel didn’t only warn the Jews of God’s coming judgments but he also gave messages of God’s comfort and reassurance to the Jewish people left behind after the judgment came and these messages made up part of the book of Ezekiel as well.  And some of the chapters in the book of Ezekiel were written to other nations.  God also cared about the Gentile nations and how they lived out their lives. 


The book of Ezekiel ends by recording another breath taking vision from God - an apocalyptic vision of the end times when God restores Israel and comes to live in a new temple on the new earth with a river of living waters flowing out for all!  God is telling his people that the Day will finally come when all of their dreams will come true and then some!


There were other men and women in Ezekiel’s day who pretended that they too were prophets from God!  But these fake prophets spoke their own words and not God’s.  They were never judgmental about the people’s sin like Ezekiel was.  Instead they told the Jewish people what they wanted to hear, and didn’t worry about what God wanted the people to hear.


Unlike Ezekiel these false prophets wanted to be popular with the Jewish people so they avoided talking about negative things.  They gave the Jewish people a false sense of security by assuring everyone that all would soon be well again and that the Jewish people had good reasons to worship idols and forget the God of their fathers.  Some of the women in the group of false prophets sold magic charms that were supposed to bring good luck!  These lucky charms were popular in Israel and everyone wanted them.


The whole thirteenth chapter of Ezekiel is taken up with God’s strong words against these false prophets.  Here are some of God’s words spoken through his prophet Ezekiel.  “The word of the Lord came to me, ‘Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are prophesying out of their own imagination.  Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have not had any visions or messages from Me!  These prophets have not gone up to the breaks in the wall to repair it for the house of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord.”  (Ezekiel 13:2,3 and 5)  These self made prophets are hurting Israel by telling her that she is in good shape when truthfully she needs repairs in her moral and spiritual walls so that they won’t fall down. 


Ezekiel speaks to the false prophets for God.  “I am against your magic charms (Ezekiel 13:20)  (God wanted his people to trust and thank Him for the good things that came into their lives instead of trusting  magic charms to bring good things!) Scripture says: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father.”  (James 1:7)


God continues speaking to the false prophets through Ezekiel.  “Because you have disheartened those that were honest and good  and have encouraged the wicked and profane not to turn from their evil ways (which would have saved their lives), and have promised peace when there will be no peace -  therefore you will no longer see your visions or practice divination.  I will save my people from you and then you will know that I am the Lord.”  (Ezekiel 13:22-23) 


There have been false prophets and teachers down through the ages.  We need to stay away from the false teachers who are out there today.  They are doing terrible damage to people by leading them astray.  But how do we know that a teacher is teaching false doctrine?


 Scripture says that the teachers who are listening to the Spirit of God will always acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (lived here on earth as a man) (1 John 2:22: 4:2-3) and also that He is the Son of God.  (1 John 4:2)  These Scriptures read:: “By this you shall know that God’s Spirit is behind the person – if a person or teacher confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, that person is of God…”  Also 1 John 4:15 says:  “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in that person and the person lives in God.”  


Colossians 2:3 says: “For in Him (Jesus) all of the fullness of the Godhead lives in bodily form.”  And Romans 10:9-10 says:  “If you openly confess the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  We thought we would have to do hard work in order to make it to heaven and all we are asked to do is believe and confess!  All of this is a mystery and we accept it by faith. 


There are religious denominations today that don’t believe or confess that Jesus is the Son of God or the Savior.  Believing that Jesus is just a super star or a great teacher isn’t good enough according to Scripture!  What we believe and what we do with Jesus is everything since He is our salvation!  Jesus is the Son of God and the only Savior who came in the flesh and we cannot believe that without the help of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Corinthians 12:3 and 1 John 4:2)And if we do believe that, the Spirit is in us according to Scripture. 


The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus is “a god,” and not the Son of God.  And the Mormons also do not believe that Jesus is Son of God or Savior.  Both of these church groups believe that they have to work their own way up to God.  Neither of them believe in the Trinity – God the Father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit.  The Mormons’ use the word “Trinity” but they give a different meaning to the word.  The Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is a Christian belief. 


In Ezekiel’s day the false prophets were just one of the problems that kept the people from returning to their God.  The people’s worshipping of idols and their rebellion against God eventually caused their downfall.  And it didn’t have to be that way. God loved them so much and had so much to give them.  He sent Ezekiel and other prophets to his people begging and calling to them and trying to woo them back. But they wouldn’t listen!  Today God also wants us for Himself and He is calling out to us as well.  Let’s not ignore His call and make the same mistake the people in Ezekiel’s day made!      







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