1 Again the word of Yahweh came unto me, saying,
PROPHECIES IN 12th YEAR OF CAPTIVITY-
585 BC-CHAPTERS 33-39
Now, for the final sixteen chapters, Ezekiel turns back to Israel.
11 Say unto them, As I live, saith Adonai Yahweh, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked [mot of the rashah]; but that the wicked turn from his way [rashah make teshuvah from his derech] and live: turn ye [shuvu], [shuvu] from your evil ways [drakhim hara'im]; for why will ye die, O house of Israel [Bais Yisroel]?
Such a statement as this, is entirely at variance with "theology," whose traditions are the exhalations of the carnal mind of a fierce and gloomy age.
God elects saints for His kingdom, not by foregone conclusions which are irreversible; but men are "elect through sanctification of spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1:2). This reveals to us the means, and design of the election in relation to the present time. "Sanctification of spirit" is the means; "obedience and sprinkling of Christ's blood," the end.
How this is brought about is explained in these words -- "Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit" (1 Pet. 1:22). The manner in which men are brought to obedience, and purification by the sprinkled blood, through the spirit, is practically explained in the use of the keys by Peter on the day of Pentecost, and at the house of Cornelius.
The spirit through the apostle, "convinced men of sin, and righteousness, and judgment to come;" and confirmed his words by the signs which accompanied them. They believed and obeyed the truth; and "in obeying it" were purified from all past sins by faith in the blood of sprinkling. Thus, they were "washed, sanctified, and justified by the name of the Lord, and by the spirit of God;" and after this manner elected according to His foreknowledge and predetermination.
No man need flatter himself that he is one of God's elect, unless he believes the gospel of the kingdom and obeys it, and walks in the steps of the faith of Abraham. A man then knows, and feels, that he is elected; because God hath said, "He that believes the gospel, and is baptised, shall be saved."
Elpis Israel 2.3.
"He hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked."
This, however, is only a part of the truth, which is made whole by the rest of the verse,
"but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
Jesus taught that there was joy in heaven over the repentance of such. But, when the wicked will not turn and live, he hath pleasure in their death: for it hath pleased him to appoint them to execution in the day of vengeance.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, June 1857.
21 And it came to pass in the 12th year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the 5th day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten.
22 Now the hand of Yahweh was upon me in the evening, afore he that was escaped came; and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb.
His long silence toward them, which began when the siege of Jerusalem started, is to be ended. This was the occasion of the news arriving of the city's fall
God, in calling him to be a prophet, informed him he was sending him to a rebellious nation, who would not listen to him (see chapters 2. and 3.), and that as a way of giving emphasis to the messages he would have to deliver, he must "go shut himself up in his house," and not speak, except when the Spirit should speak to him.
This would have been very difficult for Ezekiel by merely natural power. Therefore God would enable him.
"I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth that thou shalt be dumb and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God" (3:24-27).
This state of things was to last till the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Ezekiel was thus to be a sign-a striking sign certainly-a man subject to supernatural dumbness from which he was released only during the temporary intervals of inspiration.
When Jerusalem should fall, Ezekiel would return to the normal state (24:27). Ezekiel was not a resident of Jerusalem, but a dweller among the captives who had been removed at an earlier period to the river of Chebar (1:1).
Consequently, he was indebted to report for information of the fall of the city. This information he received on the fifth day of the tenth month of the twelfth year of the Chebar captivity, by the arrival of one that had escaped from the doomed city. But the Spirit of God marked the event before the arrival of the fugitive
The Christadelphian, July 1898
31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.
32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.
We tend to picture Israel as openly rejecting God and neglecting His services, but this clearly was not the case. They made every pretence and profession and appearance of obedience and acceptance. They went through all the motions and fulfilled all the outward forms.
They just didn't bother to give Him their lives, or to let His service interfere with their own desires and interests. They were wonderful Sunday morning believers, and maybe even Sunday evening and mid-week class attenders (translating it into our own terms), and they no doubt spoke up loyally for God against the heathen.
It was just in strict obedience to His commands that they fell short, and for which they were so terribly punished. When He said, Keep separate, they didn't. When He said, Don't marry into the world, they did. When He said, Give Me your whole life and service, they wouldn't. Isaiah and Jeremiah record the same divine complaint-
"This people draw nigh unto Me with their mouth, but have removed their heart far from Me . . ." (Isa. 29:13).
"Thou (God) art near in their mouth, and far from their reins (affections, heart)" (Jer. 12:2).
But in Ezekiel's message, God is about finished with judgment and condemnation. Jerusalem has been destroyed, and the land desolated. Instead of the captives going home, as the false prophets had promised, thousands more are being driven off into captivity, in herds like cattle.
It looked like the end of everything, but Ezekiel's message hereafter is full of marvellous revelation, promise and hope.
Bro Growcott - Prophecies in the captivity
It is obvious, from the chapter before us, that the status of Ezekiel,in the eyes of the Jews in dispersion had gradually changed. As the storm-clouds gathered over Jerusalem, and it became increasingly evident that his warnings of impending destruction were about
to be fulfilled, the people realised that he spake with divine authority.
He won their respect, whilst the false prophets, who had previously opposed him, were shown to be liars.
...Nevertheless, his appointment was primarily from God, and only later endorsed by
the people, and in this he typed the Lord Jesus who, at his second coming, will find acceptance with the people.
The Christadelphian Expositor