Granted, “in the Spirit,” but Ezekiel (since chapter 8, verse 3) has been “preaching” in Jerusalem, observing the depths of sin into which its citizens had fallen! “And he (the Lord) put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate (of the Temple) that looketh toward the north.” Proof, Ezekiel 8:3.
Now, at least at the end of chapter 11, Ezekiel is “transported” back “home,” back to Babylon where he is being held in captivity. “Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea (Babylon), to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up (left) from me.” Verse 24, what a ministry Ezekiel was given!
But what he experienced in chapter 11 is unforgettable! It’s today’s Bible Study Lesson as well.
In the first paragraph Ezekiel is shown 25 of the city’s “leaders,” all given to contradicting God’s Word! God to Ezekiel: “Son of man, these are the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city: which say, It (the destruction God foretells) is not near; let us build houses.” Verses 2-3, bold talk, “Nothing bad is going to happen!”
Ezekiel even names two of these city elders: “Jaazaniah the son of Azur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah.” Jeremiah would have known them too. He is also preaching in and around Jerusalem at this very time!
Thus Ezekiel prophesies (preaches) against their lies, these “princes” of Jerusalem! “Ye (these 25 men) shall fall by the sword; I will judge you in the border of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” Verse 10, it’s clear Who is talking, our Lord.
And even as Ezekiel preached that day: “And it came to pass, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died.” Dropped dead, instantly! (Something similar happened to Paul once.)
God has spoken!
Then get this, pride at its extreme! These vile “inhabitants of Jerusalem” also planned to take over the land (the homesteads) of the Jews (Ezekiel’s crowd, compatriots) already “deported” to Babylon! They said of them “Get you far from the LORD.” In other words: You all are not living right, in deep sin, that being the reason God has “ripped” you from the Land! Verse 15 I have partially quoted here.
So … God “defends” that already captive “minority,” that small “remnant.” Here’s a great Message of Grace: “Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them (that little group of Jews) far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come. Therefore (Ezekiel) say (to them in Babylon), Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they (the returning “remnant”) shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” Verses 16-20, what hope, what promises, sure as granite, solid as rock! Yet to be fulfilled, mostly, I might quickly add.
Sounds “Millennial,” to me.
But for those stiff-necked backsliders in Jerusalem … God continues: “But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD.” Verse 21, certain judgment.
Then, as we saw yesterday: “Did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city.” Departing even further from town! God is withdrawing His presence, His protection, due to their mountains of sin!
One Preacher said: “God is gone!”
Another: “God turned them over to their iniquity!”
Then the chapter ends: “Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God (back) into Chaldea (Babylon), to them of the captivity.” Verse 24, as I said earlier.
Did Ezekiel immediately “tell” the captives there by the riverside God’s “news” to them? “Then I spake unto them of the captivity ALL the things that the LORD had shewed me.” Good News, verse 25!
Ezekiel, ever the faithful preacher!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell
Do ya’ll think these lessons are becoming too long?