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Bible Commentaries

Ironside's Notes on Selected Books

Ezekiel 11

 

 

Verses 1-25

Chapter Eleven

The End Of The Vision

The eleventh chapter gives us the last part of the remarkable vision which came to Ezekiel in the sixth year, as mentioned in 8:11. The prophet still speaks of what he saw when, by the Spirit, he was given to behold conditions prevailing in Jerusalem, and God’s attitude toward them. The Lord made these things known to him in order that he might press home upon the consciences of those who had been taken captive the importance of heeding the Word of the Lord as given by Jeremiah, a brother-prophet, that the captives should settle down in the lands wherein they had been placed by their conquerors, and should build houses and plant vineyards and prepare for a stay in the land of the stranger for a period of at least seventy years, during which time the land was to keep sabbath.

Against this command many revolted. They supposed the Lord would intervene and open the way for them to return to Palestine. False prophets, who had risen up, encouraged them in this expectation. It was against these men that many of Ezekiel’s messages were directed.

“Moreover the Spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of Jehovah’s house, which looketh eastward: and behold, at the door of the gate five and twenty men; and I saw in the midst of them Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Be-naiah, princes of the people. And He said unto me, Son of man, these are the men that devise iniquity, and that give wicked counsel in this city; that say, The time is not near to build houses: this city is the caldron, and we are the flesh. Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man”-vers. 1-4.

In the spirit Ezekiel once more was carried to the east gate of the temple court. There, by the door of the gate he beheld five and twenty men, princes of Israel-men who represented the attitude of the people toward God. Among these, two are mentioned by name, Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah. It is evident that these two must have had special influence among the people and are, therefore, singled out in this way.

The word of the Lord came, saying, “Son of man, these are the men that devise iniquity, and that give wicked counsel in this city.” Jerusalem was besieged by the Chaldean armies. By the mouth of Jeremiah God had counseled capitulation to the demands of the foe, and had promised that those who willingly gave themselves up would go into captivity, but that their lives would be preserved; whereas the rest-those who refused to obey-would be utterly destroyed by these leaders opposing the word of the Lord and ridiculing the counsel given by Jeremiah.

They insisted that this was no time to build houses; that is, in the lands of their captivity, and in mockery they exclaimed, “This city is the caldron, and we are the flesh.” That is, they recognized the fact that Jerusalem was as a caldron with a living fire beneath and above it, and they like to the flesh within. Nevertheless, they still preached, Peace, peace, when there was no peace, assuring the people that in a little while the Chaldean armies would turn away from Jerusalem and the holy city be preserved from judgment.

In opposition to their optimistic prophecies God again spoke through Ezekiel.

“And the Spirit of Jehovah fell upon me, and He said unto me, Speak, Thus saith Jehovah: Thus have ye said, O house of Israel; for I know the things that come into your mind. Ye have multiplied your slain in this city, and ye have filled the streets thereof with the slain. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Your slain whom ye have laid in the midst of it, they are the flesh, and this city is the caldron; hut ye shall be brought forth out of the midst of it. Ye have feared the sword; and I will bring the sword upon you, saith the Lord Jehovah. And I will bring you forth out of the midst thereof, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and will execute judgments among you. Ye shall fall by the sword; I will judge you in the border of Israel; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. This city shall not be your caldron, neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof; I will judge you in the border of Israel; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah: for ye have not walked in My statutes, neither have ye executed Mine ordinances, but have done after the ordinances of the nations that are round about you”-vers. 5-12.

He who knows all things not only heard the words of these leaders but also knew the thoughts that were in their hearts, and He declared, “Thus have ye said, O house of Israel; for I know the things that come into your mind.” The slain had been multiplied in the city, and the streets filled with dead bodies. These were indeed the flesh, and the city truly was the caldron. And in accordance with the word of the Lord through His prophets, Jerusalem would be taken by the enemy, and those who were not slain would be brought forth out of the midst of it and delivered into the hands of strangers who would be God’s instruments to execute judgments upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Escape would be impossible. Try as they might they could not deliver themselves from their cruel foes; throughout all the land they would be given up to judgment, and would know that Jehovah had spoken when these things were fulfilled. Not in Jerusalem alone but also throughout all the land of Israel would they know the vengeance of the Chaldeans, which would be all the fiercer because of the prolongation of the siege of the city. Israel had no title to cry for help from God, for they had not walked in His statutes nor carried out His ordinances, but they had behaved themselves in accordance with the ways of the heathen round about them.

“And it came to pass, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then fell I down upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah Lord Jehovah! wilt Thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel?”-ver. 13.

Even while the words were in Ezekiel’s mouth he saw in the vision that Pelatiah dropped dead. Evidently this actually occurred in Jerusalem at this very time. Stirred to the depth of his heart by the beginning of the fulfilment of his words, he fell down upon his face and mourned before God, saying, “Ah Lord Jehovah! wilt Thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel?”

The Lord answered, revealing the love of His heart toward His erring people and promising to meet, in grace, any who turned to Him, even in the land of their captivity, while judgment must have its way with those who refused to hear His voice.

“And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of man, thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men of thy kindred, and all the house of Israel, all of them, are they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, Get you far from Jehovah; unto us is this land given for a possession. Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Whereas I have removed them far off among the nations, and whereas I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them a sanctuary for a little while in the countries where they are come. Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they 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 a 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. But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord Jehovah”-vers. 14-21.

Jehovah’s words were addressed, as before, to Ezekiel as “Son of man.” His own near kinsmen were among those who had rebelled against the Lord, and they, with others, had been removed far off among the nations, but God would never forget any who, in the land of their captivity, turned to Him. He said, “Yet will I be to them a sanctuary for a little while in the countries where they are come.” The temple might be destroyed. No place on earth would any longer be designated as that where Jehovah had set His name, but no soul would ever seek Him in vain. No matter what the circumstances in which His people were found, if any turned to Him with all their hearts He would reveal Himself to them and would Himself be a sanctuary unto them. Moreover, in due time He will gather a remnant of His people back to their own land.

Notice the definite promise, “I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.”

When that day comes the remnant will be accepted of God as the nation and will be regenerated. He says, “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 a 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.”

This promise has never yet been fulfilled. The present return of many Jews to Palestine, while still in unbelief, is in one sense a partial fulfilment of this prophecy; it is, doubtless, preparatory to it. But when the actual fulfilment comes the people themselves will return to the Lord; they will judge their sins, and bowing before God will confess their guilt, even the guilt, as we now know, of the rejection of their promised Messiah; and when they thus turn back in heart to God He will establish them in the land, and will give them a new nature through a second birth, even as He does to all individuals now who turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.

But when they do come there will be no blessing for those who persist in taking the path of self-will and who go on defiantly in their sins. The word of the Lord is, “I will bring their way upon their own heads.”

“Then did the cherubim lift up their wings, and the wheels were beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. And the glory of Jehovah went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city. And the Spirit lifted me up, and brought me in the vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me. Then I spake unto them of the captivity all the things that Jehovah had showed me”-vers. 22-25.

As the vision came to an end and Ezekiel beheld the cherubim lift up their wings with the wheels of government beside them, he saw the glory of the God of Israel over them above. It was evident that God still lingered in mercy, even though that mercy was despised, for the glory of Jehovah went up from the midst, then stood upon the mountain, which is on the east side of the city. This is the Shekinah glory which had dwelt between the cherubim in the Holiest of all. It now stood over upon the Mount of Olives, the very place where the Lord Jesus Himself was to stand before He ascended to heaven. The last the prophet saw of the glory in this vision it still waited there upon the mountain top, as though God was reluctant to forsake His people, in spite of the fact that they had proven so disobedient and hardhearted.

As the vision passed Ezekiel opened his eyes to find himself in the land of Chaldea on the banks of the Chebar with a group of the captives gathered about him, to whom he revealed all that he had seen and heard.

 


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Bibliography Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Ezekiel 11:4". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/isn/ezekiel-11.html. 1914.

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