The prophecy of judgment. The divine mission of Ezekiel. The vision of the glory of Jehovah.
In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as the prophet was by the captives by the river Chebar, the heavens were opened, and he saw visions of God. In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of the king Jehoiachim’s captivity, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Ezekiel, the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar.
Vision of the four cherubims.
Vision of the wheels.
The glory of God.
Above the firmament there was over the heads of the beasts a throne as the appearance of a sapphire stone, and upon the throne was the appearance of a man above upon it, having the appearance of fire, and it had brightness upon it as the appearance of the rainbow. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.
The divine commission of the prophet.
The Lord addresses him as the son of man and commands him to stand on his feet, and to hear what the Lord will speak unto him. Then the spirit entered him and set him upon his feet, and the prophet heard what was spoken to him. The prophet is told that he is sent unto a rebellious nation who together with their fathers have transgressed against the Lord until this day. They are impudent children. To them the Lord sends the prophet. Whether they will hear or no, they will know that there has been a prophet among them.
The prophet’s instruction.
The prophet is not to be afraid of them, neither of their words, though briars and thorns be with them. And he dwells among scorpions. The prophet shall speak the word of the Lord, whether they hear or not. He is not to be rebellious like that rebellious house. The prophet now sees a hand extended to him holding a roll of a book, written within and without lamentations and mourning and woe. This roll the prophet is bidden to eat. He did so and it was in his mouth as honey for sweetness.
God encourages the prophet.
The house of Israel will not hearken unto the prophet, for they are impudent and hard-hearted. For this reason the Lord has made the prophet’s face strong against their faces. As an adamant harder than flint has the Lord made his forehead. The prophet again admonished to receive all the words of the Lord into his heart, and to get him unto them of the captivity ,and to speak whether they will hear or no.
The first execution of the divine commission.
The installation and instructions.
The prophet picked up by the spirit and hears behind him a voice saying, “Blessed be the glory of the Lord from this place.” He also hears the voice of the wings of the creatures touching one another and the voice of the wheels. The prophet lifted up by the spirit and he went in bitterness, in the heat of his spirit, but the hand of the Lord was strong upon him. The prophet came to them of the captivity at Telahib, that dwelt by the river Chebar. He remained among them seven days astonished.
God shows the prophet the rule of prophecy.
At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came unto him. The Lord made him a watchman over the house of Israel, Therefore he shall warn the wicked with “Thou shalt surely die.” Should he fail to warn the wicked from his wicked way to save his life, the blood of the wicked when dying in his iniquity shall be required at his hand. Only by warning the wicked can the prophet save his soul.
The prophet is bidden to go forth into the plain that the Lord would talk with him. The Lord declares that he will make him dumb so that he cannot reprove, for they are a rebellious people. But when the Lord speaks unto him and open his mouth, he, the prophet shall speak. “Thus saith the Lord.” Those that hear, let them hear, those that forbear, let them forbear, for they are a rebellious people.
The three signs and their interpretations.
Sign 1. The prophet is bidden to portray upon a tile the city of Jerusalem, and to set his face against it, as lying on his side for 390 days in token of bearing the iniquity of Israel. Thereupon he shall turn him about and lie on his right side for 40 days. In this position the prophet, with uncovered arm, shall prophesy against the city. The Lord will lay hands upon the prophet so that he cannot turn him about till he has ended the days of his siege.
Sign 2. The Lord bids the prophet to prepare himself a porridge of various kinds of food enough to last him until the typical siege is ended. The Lord specifies the amount lie shall eat each day. His water he shall drink by measure. His porridge he shall drink by measure. His porridge he shall bake and eat as barley cakes with human dung. Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the gentiles.
The prophet shrinks from eating human dung and complains to the Lord about it. The Lord allows him to substitute cow dung for human dung.
The interpretation of sign two.
The prophet’s eating food by measure is prophetic of the eating food by measure of the inhabitants of Jerusalem during the siege. There will be great scarcity of bread,
Sign 3. The sign as such.
The prophet is bidden to take him a sharp knife, a barber’s razor, to shave his head and his beard, and to divide his hair cuttings into three equal parts. For this he is to use the scales. A third part he shall burn in the city with fire, when the days of his siege are fulfilled.
A third part he shall smite with a knife. And a third part he shall scatter to the wind. And the Lord will draw out the sword after them.
A few hairs he shall bind in his skirts. Then he is to take of the cut hair again and cast them into the midst of the fire, for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel.
Interpretation of the third sign.
The sign has a bearing on Jerusalem. The holy city He shall set in the midst of the nations and the countries that are round about her, for she hath changed the statutes of the Lord more than the surrounding countries. For this reason the Lord is against her, and will execute judgment in the midst of her in the sight of the nations and will do unto her what He has never done before for her abominations: The fathers shall eat the sons and the sons the fathers in the midst of her. The Lord will diminish the city because she defiled His sanctuary.
A third part will die of the pestilence and with famine; a third part shall fall by the sword, and a third part the Lord shall scatter to the winds, and will draw out a sword after them. The Lord will make them a waste and a reproach, an instruction, an astonishment among the nations. The Lord will send upon the scattered third a famine to destroy them, and evil beasts, and pestilence and blood and sword.
The subsequent execution of divine commissions.
Of the abominations in the temple.
In the sixth year in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, the prophet sat in his house and the elders of Judah sat before him. The prophet saw a likeness as the appearance of brightness, as the color of amber, and He the Lord took him by a lock of his hair, and the spirit lifted him between the earth and the heaven, and brought him in the vision of God to Jerusalem; to the door of the inner gate, where was the seat of the image of Jealousy that provoketh to jealousy. And the glory of Israel was there.
The prophet is bidden to look northward and behold the image of jealousy in the entry of the north gate. The prophet bidden to take sharp notice of what wicked Jews do, the great abominations the house of Israel committeth there, for which reason the Lord turned away from His sanctuary.
The Lord shows the prophet even greater abominations. The Lord brings the prophet into the door of the court and bids him to dig in the wall and enter.
The prophet does so and sees a ghastly sight; creeping things, abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel portrayed upon the wall. He saw further seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, each with a censor in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up. And with them stood Janiah the son of Shaphan. The Lord again bids the prophet to take particular notice of what took place and adds that the wicked Jews think the Lord does not see them in their hidden chambers.
For the third time the Lord bids him to turn and he shall see even greater abominations. This time the Lord brought him to the door which was to the north. The prophet sees a woman weeping for Tammuz.
Again the Lord bids him to turn and see greater abominations. The prophet is brought to the door of the temple between the porch and the altar, where were twenty five men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, facing the east and worshipping the sun.
Again the Lord bids the prophet to take careful notice of what happened and adds that it is a light thing to the house of Judah, namely, these abominations. They have provoked the Lord to anger, wherefore He shall also deal in fury with them and not spare.
Of the judgment of the guilty.
The prophet is bidden to cause them who have charge over the city to assemble every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. Six men came from the higher gate, one among them clothed with linen and supplied with a writers inkhorn. And they all went in and stood by the brazen altar, and the glory of the Lord was gone up from the Cherub. And he called to the man clothed in linen that he should go through Jerusalem and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that cry and sigh because of the abominations. He does so. The others are bid to go through the city and smite whatever their eyes see: men, women and children, but to spare any man upon whom the mark is. They are further commanded to defile the house with the carcasses of the slain. The command is carried out.
While the slaying was in progress the prophet fell upon his face and cried and asked the Lord whether ho would destroy all the residue of Israel. The Lord answers that the iniquity of the House of Israel is great and that the land is full of blood and the city full of perverseness, and that He therefore would not spare.
Of the coals of fire upon the city.
The prophet beheld the firmament above the head of the cherubims as the appearance of the likeness of a throne. And the Lord bids the man clothed in linen
to go between the wheels, under the Cherub, and fill his hands with coals of fire and scatter them over the city.
The house of God again filled with the glory of the Lord. The sound of the cherubims wings filled the temple as the voice of the Almighty God. The man in linen again bidden to fill his hands with fire. The cherubims put fire in his hand, and he again goes out.
A description of the motions of the cherubims and the wheels in the temple. Their appearance described. The prophet saw them as under God, by the river Chebar.
Of the leaders of the people.
The prophet lifted up and brought to the east gate of the temple, where he saw twenty five men, and with them stood Jaazaniah the son of Azur, Petaliah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people. The Lord tells the prophet that these are the wicked men that devise mischief and give wicked counsel in this city, who say, it, the destruction, is not near, let us build houses, this city is the flesh.
The prophet ordered to prophesy against them. The Lord knows the things that come unto the wicked mind of the house of Israel. They have multiplied their slain in the city. These slain will be the flesh, and the city is the cauldron. The Lord will bring them forth out of the midst of it, and will deliver them in the hands of strangers. They shall fall by the sword and the Lord will judge them, and they shall know that He is the Lord. For they have done after the manner of the surrounding heathen.
The death of Petaliah the son of Benaiah, occasions the complaint on the part of the prophet whether the Lord will make a full end of the remnant of Israel. The Lord replies that He will be a little sanctuary to the people. He will assemble the remnant out of the countries where they have been scattered. And they shall take away all the abominations thereof. The Lord will give them the land of Canaan, take away their stony heart and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in His statutes. They shall be His people and He will be their God. But as to the wicked, the Lord will recompense their way upon their own heads.
The Cherubims and the wheels again in motion and the glory of the Lord was over them ,and went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountains on the east of the city.
The prophet brought by the Spirit in a vision into Chaldea to them of the captivity and spake unto them all the things the Lord had shown him.
The sign of the departure of the king.
The prophet, whereas he dwells in the midst of a rebellious people, is ordered to prepare him instruments for removing from one place to another in
their sight, in the evening as they that go forth into captivity. He is to dig, further, through the wall in their sight. He shall bear upon his shoulders in the twilight. He shall cover his face that he see not the ground for he has been set for a sign unto the house of Israel. The prophet did as he was commanded.
The next morning the Lord explains the sign to the prophet. The burden concerned the prince of Jerusalem, and ail the house of Israel. The prophet is their sign. As he has done (in a figure) they will do in reality. The people and the prince that is among them shall go into captivity. The Lord’s net will be spread upon him and he shall be taken in a snare. The Lord will bring him to Babylon, and he shall die there. And all that are about him the Lord will scatter to every wind. But the Lord will leave a few men of them from the sword and the pestilence to declare all their abominations among the heathen whither they come.