Ezekiel ch 3-4
Ezek 3:1-11 we read that Ezekiel is not being sent to a people with a foreign language,
but to his own idolatrous people of Israel. Not all “missionwork” involves crossing
borders, but often the mission field is our own homes, and our daily contacts. It will
always involve our time and our effort. It will always involve communicating the gospel, by
preaching (speaking) and by life’s demonstration.
Ch 3:9 God will make his forehead “harder than flint”. In other words God will enable
Ezekiel to go and speak to them even when they reject his words. God stood with Paul
and strengthened him to preach in the face of strong adversity and persecution.
2 Timothy 4:17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that
by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and
I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
God must know how fragile we are and how easily we are swayed by man’s disapproval.
Even the prophet Ezekiel was divinely empowered by the Lord, his forehead hardened like
a flint, to endure what lay ahead. Suffering the devastation of captivity with the rebellious
house of Judah, while he was an upright man, was hard enough. Now to go and sit
among the captives, and share their shame and their sorrow was even a greater ask. Then
for God to use him as a living demonstration of the woes that will come on Jerusalem
touches on above-natural strength. There where God calls, He is faithful to provide, to
enable and empower.
Ch 3:12-14 The manisfest presence and glory of God in the wheels and the living
creatures and their wings is seen by Ezekiel and he hears a mighty voice crying out
“Blessed be the glory of the LORD from his place”. With a very disturbed heart he is
lifted by the spirit and transported to the captives by the river Chebar.
Ch 3:17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel:
therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
God’s prophets in the old testament spoke primarily to the house of Israel. They only ever
spoke to heathen nations and kings concerning things that touched the nation of Israel –
think of Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, and Pharaoh. Ezekiel is sent as a “watchman” to Israel,
and we will hear the serious qualifications of a watchman:
Ch 3:18-20 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him
not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life;
the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine
hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from
his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again,
When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I
lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him
warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not
be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
This doesn’t sound like eternal security. God cannot change or lie, nor is He using idle
threats. In the old covenant Abraham’s righteousness came by faith, even before the law
was given. Our’s is also by faith, and we need to heed this warning for ourselves.
Rom 4:3 Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
The law was added to make sin appear clearly as sin through the transgression of the law,
but sin was in the world before the law. ( see Rom 5:12-14).
“When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness”, speaks of someone to
whom God has imputed righteousness through faith, who TURNS from it and enters back
into a lifestyle of sinning. Even when Ezekiel speaks in an old testament context, I believe
the warning should be even more severe to us in the new covenant! If we TURN from our
righteousness – that is the righteousness by faith in the shed blood of Christ, who was
delivered for our offences and was raised for our justification (Rom 4:24-25) – we will be
in even greater condemnation. The context is not of a righteous person who sins during
his continuing commitment to Christ, and who will be immediately pricked in conscience
to confess his sin to the Lord and turn away from it.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and
to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal,
The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of
Christ depart from iniquity.
To the child of God Jesus is precious, and so is the blood that He shed for the remission
of our sins. Our lifestyle is no longer characterised by sinning, but rather TURNING away
from sin (departing from iniquity). We are saved by Him that we should sin no more, and
to abide in Him, for in Him is no sin. Praise God that he also sends us warnings, rebukes
and exhortations through the ministry of His word. As Paul writes to the Colossian
believers, Col 1:27-28 …Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning
every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man
perfect in Christ Jesus. The ministries are functioning to present us perfect in Christ.
Eph 5:27-28 That he (Christ) might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the
washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church,
not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without
The presumption that we can carry on with the works of the flesh, while we have a
testimony of a conversion to Christ in the past, and a knowledge of the scripture, and
even a regular attendance to a church – will NOT result in salvation. Ezekiel’s warning still
stands today, “he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall
not be remembered”.
Gal 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery,
fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance,
emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness,
revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in
time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Ezek 3:23-27 After being commissioned by the Lord as watchman to Israel, Ezekiel is
taken from the river Chebar to the plain, where he sees the same manifestation of God’s
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presence as before. This is comforting to know that wherever God sends us, He also will
be WITH US! His presence will be there, and He will carry us along. Ezekiel is told that he
will be shut up in his house, and during this time his ministry will be without words, but by
physical demonstrations only. Then later the Spirit will give him words to speak.
The judgement of Jerusalem (ch 4-5)
In chapters 4 and 5 Ezekiel is going to use certain signs and act out certain parables
before the people. At this time Jerusalem was not yet destroyed, and the false prophets
were telling the people of Israel that they were going to have peace. They were saying
that the Jews already in the Babylonian captivity would return to their land shortly, but
Ezekiel is going to confirm the word of Jeremiah, who had told them they would not be
going back for many years and that Jerusalem would be destroyed.
A tile of Jerusalem, an iron pan, and defiled bread
The sign of the tile portrayed the siege of Jerusalem. The Babylonians used clay bricks
(tiles) to write and record on. He would draw Jerusalem on the tile and portray the siege
of it and even make battering rams to demonstrate the charge of the gates. For the
second sign Ezekiel was to take an iron pan and put it between himself and this picture of
Jerusalem which he had made, to show that God had put a wall between Himself and the
city of Jerusalem. The destruction of the city was inevitable; it could not be stopped. It
showed the hardships of divine judgment, that the people were to go through terrible
suffering, and that God would not be intreated by them. A third sign describes additional
punishments to come upon Jerusalem. It is the sign of the defiled bread. Ezek 4:9-13 he
is told to only eat bread made from 200 grams of wheat and only drink 600ml of water.
The bread was to be prepared on his own excrement, which would be defilement to a
priest as himself. After intreating the Lord about it, he was allowed to use cow’s dung.
During this time when he was not cooking his food or using the bathroom, he was to lie in
his house on his left side for 390 days for Northern 10 tribes, and 40 days on his right side
for the Southern kingdom of Judah. A century before, the 10 tribes of Israel to the North
were carried off to Assyria. They had ignored the warnings of the prophets Amos and
Hosea. Ezekiel was concerned with the two tribes to the South (Judah and Benjamin). For
40 years they had followed in the godless behaviour of their Northern brothers. They also
ignored warnings of judgment from the prophets Isaiah and Micah, and a little later from
Jeremiah. The little prophecy of Habakkuk warned them of their impending doom at the
hands of the Babylonians, but this too fell on deaf ears. So finally Jerusalem was to fall as
The language used referring to the sins of Israel and Judah that will be “laid upon thee”
as he had to lie on his sides, and “thou shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel” –
is also what God did with His only Son, who has become the Lamb who takes away the
sins of the world. Isa 53:6 says “the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” and
vs11 “by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear
their iniquities.” This is also what our Lord Jesus has accomplished on our behalf.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.
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Ezekiel ch 3-4