is a Prophet.
Prophet we call him today, probably due to the size, the length,
of the Book that contains his sermons, his writings.
Testament days Prophets did not come on the scene until certain
aspects of national life had deteriorated to an extremely low
dealings with Israel. She first had Patriarchs. Then came the
Priests. Next the Judges. After which appeared the Kings. Then,
generally speaking, the Prophets were needed!
were bad when they came!
the days of Ezekiel, Israel's national life had become so
extremely wicked that God expelled them, the Ten Tribes, from
the land. They were taken into Assyrian Captivity.
Now it was
from the apostasy of her older Sister, the Two Tribes, also
called Judah, had been taken prisoner by Nebuchadnezzar and the
Babylonian Captivity had begun! It would last seventy long years
according to Jeremiah, another of God's choice Prophets.
already in the land of Babylon, had been deported much earlier
than most of the general Jewish population.
there he still preached!
apparent in the life of Judah!
her religious life!
words of one of his sermons indicate the seriousness of the
matter. Ezekiel 22:24 opens: "Son of
man, say unto her ...." This is the Lord speaking to His
The name God
so often uses for Ezekiel, "son of
man," indicates his humanity, his nearness to the people
and to the land they loved so dearly. If my sources are correct,
God uses this title over 90 times when addressing the Prophet!
In Hebrew the name is spelled this way "ben adam." They are the
opening words of the verse, indicating prominence and priority.
By the way,
Jesus loved that Name also! The God-Man, Son of the Everlasting
Father, loved to identify Himself as also fully human, born of a
Virgin! This was one of his ways of doing so. He used "son of
man" over 80 times!
word, "say," is of course a verb
and translates "amar." It means to speak or answer or command or
tell or call or as here, to preach! It possesses active voice
imperative mood properties. This message may have been preached
more than once, perhaps even regularly to a hard-hearted people,
backslidden on God! "Amar" is also expressing a command in this
verse. The Prophet was given no choice in his sermon Text. He
MUST deliver this specific message! No other will suffice.
this perhaps is a small point, but every word of Scripture is
inspired ... notice the pronoun used for Judah,
"her." It's obviously feminine.
Why so? Because in God's eyes, Judah is a lady! A pure young
virgin! Scriptures even exist that compare her to the wife of
Jehovah God! "For thy Maker is
thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy
Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth
shall he be called." Isaiah 54:5 says this. When Judah is
unfaithful to God, worshipping idols and such, she is accused of
being an adulteress! These obviously are feminine terms.
much of the Old Testament consists of sermons and counsel and
encouragement and advice and even warnings to nations,
particularly Israel and Judah!
America, or your country whatever it is, take heed to God's
concern for whole Continents?
Almighty God holds nations responsible for its deeds!
... "He ruleth by his power for ever;
his eyes behold the
nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah."
Psalm 9:17 ... "The wicked shall be turned
into hell, and
all the nations that forget God."
has been given!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
word I need is "linkage."
certain grammatical and practical relationships between two or
more components of an entity, here a Hebrew sentence.
rebuking Judah for her sins, her spirit of rebellion against
And here are
his opening words: "Thou art
the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of
indignation." Ezekiel 22:24
"land" is "eretzs" in Hebrew and can mean anything from the
earth itself, the soil of the ground, to a whole country or
territory. Here it appears that the whole Nation of Judah is in
view, based on the context.
Judah as a
country is "not cleansed." The verb "cleansed" is spelled "taher"
in Hebrew and means to be pure. It can imply being free of
disease, physical impurity or being free of blatant sin,
spiritual purity. Its first Bible appearance involves the latter
definition: "Then Jacob said unto his
household, and to all that were with him, Put away the
strange gods that are among you, and
be clean, and
change your garments: and let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and
I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day
of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went."
This is a
call to repentance, to confession of sin. The Jew of Ezekiel's
day, had he been back in the Holy Land, would have offered blood
sacrifice for his wrongdoings.
So ... Judah
is dirty, soiled, stained with sin.
the "linkage" element I mentioned earlier.
The land is
defiled ceremonially ... therefore, no "rain" has fallen! "Goshem"
means rain, the wet form of precipitation that aids productivity
on the farm!
looks like this.
withholds rain, threatening her financial stability since she is
an agricultural economy.
is also called linkage.
And we know
God is behind this because of the last word Ezekiel uses, in
this twenty second verse I mean.
"Indignation" is "zaam" and suggests anger or rage. It's a
pretty strong word and is only used 22 times in all the Bible.
It expresses intense anger, often resulting in denunciation! Its
cognate verb is used in the King James Bible to mean "abhor"
twice! And "defy" two more times also. Psalm 7:11 uses our word,
which I will capitalize for identification.
"God judgeth the righteous, and God
is angry with the wicked every day."
Now we must
be careful here. Just because it does not rain on someone's
garden does NOT necessarily mean that he has viciously sinned
against God! Other facts may be involved. This farmer's neighbor
may be in rebellion! He might live in an arid country. Or a
hundred other reasons.
But our Text
does mean that in this case ... presumptuous sinning led to
changes in the weather pattern!
control such things.
In fact, in
Deuteronomy 28:23-24, as God teaches Israel the consequences of
disobedient living, He promises that if they sin repeatedly,
habitually ... there would be no rain!
"And thy heaven that is over
thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee
shall be iron. The
LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust:
from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be
lands of earth today, godless nations, had best heed the
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
Ezekiel calls it!
"There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof."
The city of
Jerusalem is the primary subject, Judah the Nation being
The noun for
"prophets" is spelled "nabiy" in Hebrew and means "one who
speaks by inspiration." The ancient etymology involved here may
suggest a man who shakes and quivers and falls under the control
of another spirit, even as he preaches! That's all right if the
Spirit is the Holy Spirit and the physical movement is decent
and in order and used to declare the Truth of God's Word.
these men in Ezekiel's day, days of apostasy and declension from
the ways of God, were in "conspiracy" with each other. "Qesher"
is a noun and in addition to meaning conspiracy or confederacy
it also carries the idea of treason or unlawful alliance!
It is the
first word in the verse in the Hebrew Masoretic Text, revealing
the strong emphasis the word is due interpretively. This word,
when pointed differently or assigned different vowel characters,
means "strong or stronger." One can easily see the connection.
Fifty false prophets in a Nation, a confederation of them, would
have a more "powerful" impact for evil than just one!
The word for
"midst," in Hebrew "tavek," means right in the middle of
misunderstand me, some preachers' fellowships can be great. As
long as they are Bible-believing fundamental separated Brethren.
But when you begin mixing liberals and neo-evangelicals and
others from so-called main-line denominations into the group,
there's no doubt that theological and spiritual trouble is on
Look at what
these prophets did next. "Like a
roaring lion ravening the prey" is Ezekiel's word
picture. And I'm afraid the "prey," in Hebrew "tereph" meaning
spoil or food or anything desirable that's taken in battle,
primarily here includes spiritual things. Things like the minds
and hearts and souls of men and women. These things are the most
precious resources of any nation. In fact, they are the
bunch of apostates, religious and otherwise, are trying to seize
and destroy the faith of our people!
"They have devoured souls,"
cries the Preacher Ezekiel! "Akal" means to devour in this
sense; to eat, to feed, to consume and even to slay!
these false prophets are in it for the money, for personal gain,
for filthy lucre's sake to use Paul's term.
additionally "have taken the treasure
and precious things." The verb "laqach" means to take by
force, to seize! Nearly stealing! Coercion! Extortion!
translates "chosen," pronounced kho'-sen, and means riches. Here
are its schematics based on the King James Version. Total
appearances: 5. These are translated "treasure" 2 times and
"strength" 2 times and "riches" 1 time. These wicked preachers
have pilfered the "strength" of the people. Living godly lives
does produce marvelous strength of character and purpose in
individuals and in their communities!
things" are priceless and honorable items. In the same form we
have here, "qekar" is rendered as "honor" in Esther 1:20, but
notice the context! "And when the
king's decree which he shall make shall be published throughout
all his empire, for it is great, all the wives shall give to
their husbands HONOUR, both to great and small." See!
Robbing the wives' respect and honor and submission to their
mates! Sounds like today's radical feminists and their
The acts of
these prophets have become so intense that death has been the
result! The deaths of the very people whom they are supposed to
be protecting! For example, if they have wrongly advised war,
which they certainly did in the case of godly King Josiah, the
Jewish men, soldiers, who died in the conflict would have left
their wives behind, widows all! Go ahead, Ezekiel:
"They have made her many widows in the
midst thereof." Also to lead men into blatant sin and to
bring God's resultant wrath on a land, devastating wrath, where
God ends men's lives prematurely, would be to produce another
crop of widows!
preaching is dangerous!
It can kill!
heard a sermon on today's subject.
of false prophets!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
nation drifts far away for God, usually her leaders must bear
part of the responsibility.
Such was the
case with Israel, with Judah too.
Ezekiel the Prophet as he preaches.
"Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy
things: they have put no difference between the holy and
profane, neither have they shewed difference between the
unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths,
and I am profaned among them." Ezekiel 22:26
are the religious leaders of the Jewish Nation. One of their
main functions was teaching God's Law, God's Word.
"That thou observe diligently, and
do according to all that
the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded
them, so ye shall observe to do." Deuteronomy 24:8
"Carry thither one of
the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go
and dwell there, and let
him teach them the manner of the God of the land."
2nd Kings 17:27
To see this
principle negatively: "The heads
thereof judge for reward, and
the priests thereof
teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for
money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not
the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us." Micah
"For the priest's lips
should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his
mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But
ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble
at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the
LORD of hosts."
of upholding and revering God's Law, teaching it faithfully to
the people, these priests have "violated" it. The Hebrew verb
here is "hamas!" Say it, folks! Hamas! It means "to do wrong."
Also "to treat harshly, ruthlessly or injuriously!"
3:4 agrees with Ezekiel, although at a later time in Israel's
history. "Her priests have
done violence to
the law." Here's "hamas" again!
This kind of
violence was prevalent on the earth just before the Flood in
Noah's days. It was part of the indictment God brought against
mankind before He destroyed the population of the world!
"The earth also was corrupt before
God, and the earth was filled with
Genesis 49:5 "hamas" is translated "cruelty." Read it:
"Simeon and Levi are brethren;
instruments of cruelty
are in their habitations."
day has come to America!
priests and professors of all kinds have declared war on the
Word of God!
published within the past few years is named "The Sins of the
Scriptures." It attacks God's Word furiously!
just as bad, critiquing it beyond recognition!
Today we are
being told that the inerrant old Book, the Scriptures of Truth,
are filled with mistakes, if not deliberate misrepresentations!
historical accuracies are doubted.
characters are questioned, their very existence.
Its Lord and
Saviour stripped of His Divinity!
Just as God
solved the problem years ago with first Israel then Judah, He
can and will solve it today!
that Nation off the map!
At least for
And you know
well on her way to oblivion!
At least ...
Nationally we too have done
much violence to the precious Word of God!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
In English the word is composed of two
Latin terms. "Pro" means "out in front of." And "fanum" means a
temple, a place of worship! When combined, a profane individual
is one who is "out in front" of the Temple, not having entered
to worship! This person leaves God out of his
or her life altogether! They refuse to go "into" the House of
God, preferring rather to exclude Him from their lives!
From that classic background and meaning,
"profanity" has come to mean "abusive, vulgar, irreverent language."
The kind of talk that refuses to respectfully admit God into
human life or world affairs!
Now to the Scriptures, where Ezekiel
accuses the Jewish Priests of his day of great profanity!
"Her priests have profaned mine holy
things: they have put no difference between the holy and
profane." Ezekiel 22:26
The verb "profaned" translates "chalal."
It means "to defile, to pollute, to wound or break, to
prostitute or stain!" All these are valid translations of "chalal"
in the King James Old Testament.
Its "root" background seems to imply
"wounding someone, boring through them or piercing them
violently!" It can even mean to slay an individual or to fatally
Here in our Text "chalal" is in the Piel
stem too. This means that the action described is fierce,
dramatic and powerful!
"Holy things" mean that which is "set
apart" unto God! Dedicated solely to Him, consecrated! Hallowed!
I'll go ahead and say it: "separated!" The word is "qodesh."
Things like the Word of God and the Spirit
of God and the items of the Tabernacle or Temple, all pointing
to the Person of God, His Character and Essence. Other things
like marriage and reverence and worship are in mind too!
To "put difference" between things
translates "badal." It means "to divide, to separate, to make a
distinction, to sever."
Some things in life are holy. Some are
Some things are allowed. Others are
Some things edify and encourage
spiritually. Others hinder and destroy!
These things must be labeled.
Instructions must be given, warnings issued
and punishment dispensed if God's people disobey!
The set of adjectives with which today's
lesson ends, "they have put no difference
between the holy and profane," are interesting words in
their respective categories.
"Holy" again is "qodesh" and is used 468
times in Scripture!
However, "profane" is "chol" and only
appears 7 times in all the Bible!
So a word about "chol" is in order.
Ezekiel himself uses it four times. He is here alluding to
Leviticus chapter 10 where God is instructing Aaron about the
Priesthood. "And the LORD spake unto
Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy
sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the
congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever
throughout your generations: and
that ye may put
difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean
and clean; and that ye may teach the children of Israel all the
statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of
Moses." Leviticus 10:8-11
The word seems to mean something like
"common." In 1st Samuel 21:4 the shewbread of the Tabernacle was
not "common" bread! It was special, dedicated to God! And you no
doubt noticed in the Leviticus 10 Text I just quoted, "chol" is
boldly translated "unholy."
Respect, reverence, awe toward the things
of God must be maintained as a national heart-felt attitude!
And in ancient Judah one group, the
Priests ... in spirit the Preachers ... were to have taught and
modeled and preached and demanded such an attitude toward God
and His Ways!
The Priests failed!
They became so lazy they no longer even
tried to build reverence into the lives of God's people.
And ... the Nation was punished by the
Will America be an exception?
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
Hosea was an observer with keen perception. One of his findings
reads like this: "And there shall be,
like people, like priest:
and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their
doings." Of course he is quoting the Lord God Almighty.
That's right! Hosea 4:1 begins by saying
"Hear ye the Word of the Lord, ye
children of Israel." Then 4:9 thunders:
"Like people, like priest.
commentators tell us that the expression can mean either the
people eventually mimic their priests ... or conversely, the
priests finally become like the people they seek to lead!
doubt are true. After all, we are talking about the inspired
inerrant Scripture of Truth as it's called in Daniel 10:21.
priests are "copying" the backslidden people of their day, then
whatever happened to courage and conviction and the willingness
to "stand alone" for the sake of righteousness?
people are following in their priests' footsteps, which we shall
assume in today's lesson, they are merely doing what various
crowds have done throughout the whole of the Bible.
disciples followed Him!
encouraged his followers to "mimic" him, as he followed Christ!
Here it is, 1st Corinthians 11:1. "Be
ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ."
followed Elijah, going so far as to help him wash with water day
after day! 2nd Kings 3:11 tells us:
"Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on
the hands of Elijah."
Look at the
kinds of lives the priests in Ezekiel's day were living.
"Neither have her Priests shewed
difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid
their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them."
difference" translates a beautiful but unusual verb. "Yada"
primarily means "to know." Of course, you can't "show" anyone
anything until you "know" that thing yourself, can you?
These men of
God do not know enough about real purity to distinguish it from
"clean" translates "tahor" and means that which is pure. Twice
in the Bible it is translated "fair" even! Purity is lovely to
our God! The word comes form a "root" that means "to be bright!"
Pure in a "physical, chemical ceremonial and moral sense," says
one lexicon, a Hebrew dictionary. Its first Bible occurrences
appear in Genesis 7 and 8 where Noah is bringing the "clean"
animals aboard the ark.
"tame" in Hebrew, pronounced taw-may', and means defiled or
polluted. It is rendered as "infamous" in the King James Text of
Ezekiel 22:5. It means "foul, spoiled, degraded."
in verbal form now, is used initially in Genesis 34:5 where
Dinah had been "defiled" by a heathen young man! You could say
she was "raped."
society at the time of the Babylonian Captivity had drifted so
far from God that the clear Bible line separating right from
wrong was erased! And if there is no absolute standard by which
to live ... anything goes! Each man decides for himself what to
such degradation precludes any true worship of God. Little
wonder that Ezekiel next tells us that the "sabbaths" were
hidden! Here are his exact words:
"They have hid their eyes from my sabbaths," The Lord was
The verb "to
hide" is spelled "alam" and means "to veil from sight" or just
"to conceal." In the King James Text it is rendered several
ways, depending on the context, once being associated with
outright blindness! This is a deliberate act!
If one is
living as ungodly as these Priests were, Sabbath worship at the
House of God is the last thing he would have enjoyed doing!
today faithful Church attendance is about to be extinguished
also, largely due to rampant unconfessed rebellion and sin.
"Sabbath" suggests rest and a cessation from labor! Time to
remember the things of God, savoring His Person and Presence!
Adoring Him! Notice God calls them His Sabbaths! He loves
them! He wanted His people to call the Sabbaths a "delight"
according to Isaiah 58:13. There "delight" is "oneg" and means
that which is exquisite and dainty and pleasant!
today, God acknowledges that He is abhorred by these reprobate
people. "I am profaned among them."
"profaned" here is "chalal" and literally means "pierced
through!" God is hurt, wounded, by the sins of Israel!
Typologically and prophetically this ought to remind us of the
Saviour, Who was indeed pierced on the Cross, shedding His
Blood, that our sins might be washed away, forgiven!
What a view
of Grace we have here!
No wonder it
is called marvelous Grace, or as Peter has it ... "manifold
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God."
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
"As doth a canker,"
says Paul, using the word "gangrene" as we know it in
English! These words are found in 2nd Timothy 2:17.
In just one of the Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel's superb
paragraphs, a piercing sermon, he reveals this wicked
progression. Sins there seep through the lives of the Prophets,
false Prophets of course, then to the Priests, impure Priests by
now ... even to the Princes, Judah's political and governmental
Notice for example these words:
"Her princes in the midst thereof
are like wolves
ravening the prey, to shed blood,
and to destroy
souls, to get dishonest gain." Ezekiel 22:27
The noun "princes" is spelled "sar" and indicates rulers,
leaders or chiefs of various kinds. Even captains and governors
The noun "wolves" is "zeeb" in Hebrew. To show you how some
words develop their meanings by association, note that "zeeb"
means yellow, the color yellow! Apparently the wolves of the
Holy Land had that tint in their fur and the name stuck!
Of course these "wolves" who are in political office are called
such because they are predators, killers, vicious people seeking
their own good, and that alone!
To prove my point, "ravening" means "tearing into pieces!" The
Hebrew word "taraph" is also used as "prey and catch and feed"
in the King James Bible. Sounds dangerous!
We have a play on words here. "Ravening the prey" in the Hebrew
Text is represented like this: "tareph tereph." Professional
predators! "Pork barrel" specialists we might call them today!
They want to pad their pockets, no matter who they harm in the
They are even willing "to shed blood" for purposes of political
"Shed" translates "shaphak" and means "to pour out" or even to
allow that precious liquid "to gush out!"
This reminds me of the thousands of unborn little babies that
will be slaughtered today in America, victims of selfish mothers
and greedy doctors in the Country's abortion mills!
Shedding blood, to get the feminists' votes!
And some of the Doctors' votes also!
But they not only destroy people physically. They do so
spiritually as well!
They "destroy souls." The verb here is "abad" and suggests
extermination! Breaking something or just causing it to vanish!
The verb is actually expressed as a Piel participle. The action
is continuous, on-going and the spirit of it is intense!
One's soul is the real person within. "Nephesh" primarily means
a person's mind, will and emotions but his or her spirit can be
Why all this?
"To get dishonest gain," accuses Ezekiel!
"Get" is "batzsa" and means to covet or to achieve by violence,
even to wound in acquisition. To "cut off" a person!
"Dishonest gain," a noun in Hebrew, is another repeat. Ezekiel
has done this twice in a single verse! He is poetic in his
preaching! "Betzsa" now still focuses on the thing desired,
really desired! Like Ahab's lust for Naboth's vineyard!
If anyone gets in the way of these Leaders, watch out!
They will do anything to advance themselves financially!
How did the political situation get so bad in Israel, in Judah
It began not with the politicians and governmental princes, but
with the preachers!
When they go "bad," everything else eventually does too!
God help us in America!
Bad times are coming!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
Prophets of God did not have a lot of patience with the “false”
prophets of the land! In Old Testament days I mean.
In one short
paragraph, chapter 22:24-29 of his writings, Ezekiel twice
denounced the evil ways of those men, those apostate preachers.
verse 25 relates: “There is a
conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring
lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have
taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many
widows in the midst thereof.” We studied this Text
several days ago. It is archived here on the website for your
future reference too. I just wanted you to read the verse again.
Now in verse
28 Ezekiel “hits” further areas of disobedience, indeed
concerning those very same prophets. In fact, it appears that
the offenses of verse 28 supercede even those of verse 25.
“And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter,
seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith
the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.”
today’s religious scene this verse sounds!
preaching what God bids, Ezekiel calls these backsliders a bunch
“divine” translates “qasam” and means to practice soothsaying!
To tell the future via heathen methods, reading stars or
consulting animals’ entrails or praying to an evil spirit!
activity is expressly forbidden for the Israelites.
“There shall not be found among you any one that maketh
his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that
useth divination, or an observer of times, or an
enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with
familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.” These
activities all are related. I’ve quoted Deuteronomy 18:1-11
results of their witchcraft is uniform ... “lies!” This noun is
spelled “kazab.” It means that which is deceitful or false.
Their prophecies were wrong! They did not come to pass!
charlatans appealed to God, declaring that their Messages came
from Him. But it was not so! “Saying, Thus
saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.” This
short clause uses two different words for speech. “Saith”
translates “amar,” emphasizing the act of speaking. While
“spoken” is represented by “dabar” emphasizing the content of
what is said, including the time and circumstance surrounding
the utterance! The false prophets’ words were mere “jabber” to
Ezekiel … God’s Words were filled with substance and worthy of
fake preachers proclaimed their lies, they were already “seeing
“vanity!” This verb is “chozen” and means "to have a vision."
Once in the King James Bible it is associated with “stargazing.”
The accompanying noun is “shav” and means emptiness or
nothingness or falsehood!
ever the picturesque Prophet, paints a metaphor for our
understanding. Such flimsy preaching is like “daubing” the
people of Judah with untempered mortar! To “daub” is to paint,
coat or plaster something. “Tuach” means to smear or overlay
something, preparing it for use.
mortar” translates “taphel,” just one word. It means that which
is foolish or unsavory! Insipid, tasteless, unseasoned!
we then may assume that real preaching, Bible preaching, is
tasty! Healthy! Filled with Wisdom!
Again I say
today, what kind of preaching do you hear each weekend?
Good or bad?
to Ezekiel’s definitions I mean!
The answer to
that "preaching" question is far more important that you might
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
teacher called it “cause and effect.”
it was “reaping what one had sown.”
illustrates the contagious nature of sin!
And we shall
use the Prophet Ezekiel to illustrate.
22 of his great Prophecy, Ezekiel talks about the wickedness
that had invaded the clergy of his day, the guild of men known
as the Prophets.
priests are listed, also backslidden from God.
princes were implicated.
in the sequence, the “people,” the whole nation is
Read with me
Ezekiel 22:29. “The people of the land
have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the
poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger
our six verse Text, just hitting the major points of Ezekiel
22:24-29. You will readily see what I mean.
no longer hallowed the Sabbath Days, making them unholy by their
that’s the nation’s rulers, were so “politically correct” that
they even allowed many innocent lives to be lost, just to
people … yes the people were not willing to be left behind at
oppression,” in Hebrew “asaq,” is literally to crush something
with a heavy weight! Then to extort, to exploit, to defraud or
to violate. This sounds like an ultra litigious society, suing
one another with abandon. Legally “hurting” others to the
fullest extent of the law! Exacting revenge mercilessly!
“exercising robbery” is another of several couplets Ezekiel
uses. “Gazal gazel” it appears in Hebrew. The verb means “to
tear away, to seize, to plunder, to take by force!” The noun
suggests anything plundered. This is a violent lifestyle. No
love found in this society! And isn’t that exactly what Jesus
would teach centuries later? “And
because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
“vex”someone, “yanah” in Hebrew, means in its root form “to
rage or be violent.” To maltreat. It is “to thrust out” once in
Scripture. Legally finding a loophole in some statute and
kicking the poor people off their own land! The “poor” are the
lowly, “aniy.” While the “needy” are the ones in dire “want,” in
mistreat and oppress (“ashaq” again) the “stranger.” The noun
“ger” means alien, foreigner, sojourner or temporary inhabitant.
adverbial term “wrongfully” needed two Hebrew words to express
its depth. “Lo mishphat,” with no justice!
You see, our
verse has just described some things being done in the courts
that were legally permissible … but spiritually immoral
according to God’s Precepts!
society in which to live!
How low can
tomorrow and we shall see!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
in a Nation fall to an all-time low, when God’s judgment is
looming overhead like a sword dangling by a mere thread, what’s
a godly man to do?
At least one
Bible Text, Ezekiel 22:24-29, describes such a worsening
But, just as
importantly, it suggests to us what God longs to see in such a
dark situation. God’s very words: “And
I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge,
and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not
destroy it: but I found none.” Ezekiel 22:30
translating “baqash,” means “to desire or require,” but once in
Scripture “to beg!” This is here a Piel verb, intense in action!
“make up the hedge” is another double word appearance. It in
Hebrew looks something like this: gadar gader.” First is the
verb, a participle, to wall something into security, to close
off an area by building a wall! The following noun means a fence
or anything else that can separate and protect!
in Hebrew “amad,” is to endure or remain or abide or even to
present oneself for duty!
“gap,” a broken place in the wall! A breach! The verbal root
here means a bursting forth, maybe here the enemy gushing into
and overrunning God’s hedged vineyard!
If such a
man, an intercessor, and advocate is NOT found, the land will
obviously be “destroyed.” Now “shachath” means in its mildest
sense to corrupt or to ruin or spoil, even to decay! In its
strongest sense, absolutely annhilated! Here we are again
dealing with a Piel verb, the action is vehement! We must choose
the strongest definition applicable!
verb “matzsa,” suggests "acquiring or securing" such a man, but
often it also carries the idea of "encountering" one or having
"befallen" into a pathway!
“none” is located by the Lord. Then “lo” means absolutely
not a single soul!
has some reminders of Abraham’s interceding for Sodom. God would
perhaps have spared there the city, here the nation, had enough
godly people been found!
is not the case, since no one cared, destruction is decreed and
soon would be delivered. In fact, as Ezekiel writes and preaches
it has already begun!
Ezekiel 9 a somewhat parallel situation has already occurred.
Sin is rampant, idolatry everywhere and God wants, hungers, for
some righteous people who will at least grieve over the
rampant sin! “And the LORD said unto
him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of
Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that
sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the
midst thereof.” Ezekiel 9:4
To “set a
mark” again appears as a double word group. “Tavah tav,” to
write or scribble a letter or sign or mark on something or
“sighed” (“anach”) or groaned or mourned and that “cried” (“anaq”)
or lamented out loud were spared, given their lives in return
for such sorrow. While the multitudes that did not care, not
slightly phased or bothered by the sin, were slain!
“And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him
through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither
have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and
little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom
is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began
at the ancient men which were before the house.”
God knows if
On the other
hand, God sometimes forbids such care, or at least its
expression! Maybe that’s when a group becomes so apostate that
no hope remains! Look at these verses from Jeremiah. Is God
exhausted with Judah? “Therefore pray
not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for
them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear
thee.” Jeremiah 7:16
“Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry
or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time
that they cry unto me for their trouble.”
“Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for
God is a
gracious God of love!
He also is a
holy God of judgment and wrath if man stubbornly and
persistently refuses to repent!
care about America?
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 11, CONCLUSION:
almost forgotten sense today, sin has consequences!
is still in the Bible!
“The wages of sin is death.”
been true since Satan first filled his heart with Pride and
attacked Almighty God!
Scriptures, including the Old Testament Prophets, clearly
illustrate this principle again and agin, usually drawing on the
histories of men, women and even nations, especially Israel and
litany of unconfessed sins Ezekiel has enumerated in the 22nd
chapter of His Prophecy, verses 22 through 29, the iniquities of
Judah … God moves in judgment!
administers His chastening severely and continuously for seventy
years, seventy long years!
together: “Therefore have I poured out
mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire
of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads,
saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 22:31
“indignation” has fallen on Israel! “Zaam,” the Hebrew noun
employed here, actually means “rage!” It’s root verb means “to
foam at the mouth!” Here’s a picturesque way of depicting anger
for sure! God is upset!
out” translates “shaphak” and means to copiously shed forth some
commodity upon a subject! Once in the Biblical Text it is
rendered “gush out!”
“wrath” is the rather rare “ebrah” and means an “overflow” or an
“excess” of something! An “outburst!”
the common noun “esh” and has one basic meaning the 379 times it
appears in the Word of God, literally burning flames!
is to finish, accomplish or bring to an end! It can even mean to
waste or destroy also! Here it’s a Piel stem verb, indicating
extreme passion and vehemence! It is spelled “kalah.”
“way” translates “derek” and means road or path or journey. Here
it obviously pictures Judah’s lifestyle, wicked as it has been.
“recompense” is spelled “nathan” and is translated “give” over a
thousand times in the King James Text.
from the Righteous One!
So saith the
Lord GOD, using both fundamental Names for our
Creator and Redeemer!
printed in capital letters as you can see, is Jehovah in today’s
English. While “Lord” is “Adonay” and means the One with
“Behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin
will find you out.”
includes every other nation on earth who also rebels against the
God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
WE HAVE NOW COMPLETED THIS
VERSE-BY-VERSE EXPOSITION OF EZEKIEL 22:24-29. IN FACT, VERSES
30 AND 31 WERE STUDIED TOO! MAY GOD AGAIN BLESS HIS PRECIOUS
WORD TO HELP US FURTHER GROW TOWARD SPIRITUAL MATURITY IN CHRIST
JESUS OUR LORD!