Bible Query from
Q: In Ezek, what is the importance of having the book of Ezekiel in the Bible?
A: The book of Ezekiel is not just prophecy, poetry, history, or teaching; it is all of the above, encompassing most genres of scripture. Ezekiel uses the term Sovereign Lord (adonai YHWH) over 200 times, and this book shows how God's sovereignty can work, in good times and bad.
God had not forgotten the Jews, and He was not through with them. Both Ezekiel and Jeremiah continued telling the people that God had not forgotten them during the exile either. Yes, many Jews would forget God and become assimilated with the nations around them, but a remnant would come back to God and return to the land. Today, if a Christian or group of Christians have messed up and turned away from God, God has not forgotten them either. Though there might be a "path to follow" for the disobedient Christians, God can still use them again for His glory.
In addition, Ezekiel gives us some glimpses of heavenly glory, the future Temple, and God's heart. We can learn some things in Ezekiel about real justice, as God describes it, and see that everything that happens on earth is not necessarily just.
Q: What is an outline of Ezekiel?
A: Here is one outline.
1-3 Ezekiel's Commission
1. Vision of God
2-3:3. The scroll of Ezekiel's message to a rebellious house
3:4-27. Motivations of a Watchman
4-24 God's warning to Israel
4-7 Illustrations of warning
8-10 Fading vision of God's glory departing
12-17 No hope for the wicked
18 Hope for the repentant, but the souls who sins will die
19-24 Lament, anger, and death of relationship with the unrepentant
25-32 God's warning to other nations
25 East and south: Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia
26-28 Tyre, its king, and Sidon
29-32 Egypt and Pharaoh
33-39 The watchman delivers six messages of glory and blessing on Israel
40-48 The glory of the Millennial temple
Q: In Ezek 1, Ezek 8, and Rev 4, since God does not have the limitation of a physical body, what was Ezekiel seeing?
A: This passage abounds in phrases such as likeness, resembling, looked lie, and appearance. There are three points to consider in the answer.
1. In a vision, God can appear however He wishes.
2. However, God does have a physical image, Jesus Christ, as Colossians 1:15 shows.
3. In addition, some Christians interpret the enthroned one in Revelation 4 as God the Father, which likely would make Ezekiel's vision one of God the Father, too.
Q: In Ezek 1, what should our vision of God be like?
A: God has different roles, and so there is no one single right answer. Some see God as a friend, - as did Abraham. Some see God primarily as a Father, as the Lord's prayer starts out. Some see God awesome and very different from us, as Ezekiel sees here and Isaiah in Isaiah 6. Many of God's attributes can be grouped in two categories: transcendence, and imminence. God is transcendent, in that He fills the entire universe, knows everything, is all-powerful, and not only is greater than we imagine, but grater than we can even imagine. No matter how far something is away from you; God is there. But God is also imminent, in that no one is closer to us than God. He loves us, and even knows the number of hairs on our head.
Sometimes Christians can mistakenly focus on one attribute of God so much, that they fail to give proper thought to the other attributes. Ezekiel 1 is a reminder that though it is good to focus on the loving, imminent attributes of God, we should also always remember the transcendent aspects too.
Q: In Ezek 1:1, what does "in the thirtieth year" mean?
A: Both the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1040 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1227 says it probably referred to Ezekiel's age, and adds that thirty years old was the age a priest would enter the Lord's service.
Ezekiel was from a priestly family. While there was no fixed age when priests started their work, the thirtieth year was when the Levites began their duties in taking care of the temple, according to Numbers 4:3,23,29. Of course the services of priests and Levites were not in need at present. Perhaps Ezekiel might have been disappointed that, due to Israel's sin, he had nothing to do in his hereditary role. But God had a purpose more special for Ezekiel.
Q: In Ezek 1:3 and Ezek 10:20, where was the Kebar (or Chebar) River?
A: This was a canal (man-made river) which flowed into the Euphrates River south of Babylon. The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.584 mentions that it was one of the larger canals, and it original Akkadian name was nar Kabari, meaning Grand Canal.
Q: In Ezek 1:4, what was significant about the windstorm coming from the north?
A: Because of the weather patterns, storms usually came from the north or the northwest. Because of geography, invasions from Empires other than Egypt always came from the north. Like a windstorm, this was the direction one could look to wait for God's judgment would come, since the Assyrians and Babylonians invaded from that direction.
Q: Does Ezek 1:5-28 illustrate a UFO?
A: Not in the sense commonly understood. God's angels were flying objects, and the one true God of the Bible is unidentified by many people. It is obvious that this refers to God and the cherubim.
Nevertheless, from a human psychological perspective, it is interesting that many people find it so much easier to ascribe anything unusual to extra-terrestrial beings than to believe in the most important an extra-terrestrial being: the Creator. See When Cultists Ask p.84-85 and When Critics Ask p.283-284 for a different, but complementary answer.
Q: In Ezek 1:5-28, what is the proper way to interpret visions such as this?
A: The vision was written in terms the human writer and immediate audience would understand. The best commentary on scripture is scripture itself. When there is a similar passage or concept, the similarity is usually not just a coincidence. They should be thought of as likely the same, unless there is a contextual reason (not just doctrinal preference) to view them otherwise.
While we do not understand everything about this vision, we can make observations that are probably (but not certainly) correct about this vision by relating it to what is revealed elsewhere in Scripture.
Q: In Ezek 1:5-28, what does this vision mean?
A: This vision is not primarily to communicate concepts or definitions, but rather a picture. Ezekiel saw a vision of God enthroned. Later, a very similar vision would show God's glory leaving His temple in Jerusalem. As to interpreting the details of this vision, one needs only to compare this with Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4 and 5.
Q: In Ezek 1:22, what is the firmament of crystal?
A: This likely is the sea of glass, as clear as crystal, mentioned in Revelation 4:6.
Q: In Ezek 1:26, what is lapis lazuli (also translated as sapphire)?
A: This is a hard, bluish semi-previous gem. They were highly valued; it is interesting that around 800 A.D., when Irish monks were making the Book of Kells, an illustrated copy of the Bible, some of their material was lapis lazuli, mined from Afghanistan.
Q: In Ezek 1:28, what is the glory of the Lord here?
A: This is also called the "Shekinah glory", and was manifested by the brilliant appearance and general awe that surrounded God's throne.
See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.182-183 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 2:1 and elsewhere, why does God frequently call Ezekiel "son of man"?
A: Perhaps to emphasize the "other-ness" of God. Ezekiel was a human, ministering to humans, with a message from a non-human, who was greater than humans could even imagine.
Q: In Ezek 2:1, is our bodily posture important when we pray or hear God?
A: A particular posture is not required for God to hear our prayers; an invalid lying on a bed, or a thief on a cross, can all cry out to God. But sometimes our posture is important to us. Whether we are kneeling, or lying prostrate flat on our stomach, we might do so to illustrate our respect towards God and our unworthiness to be in His presence, apart from Christ. When we raise our hands to pray, and look up, we might do so to ask God to draw near to us. People can communicate with other people by bodily posture, apart from a formal sign language, and we can communicate with God in similar ways.
Q: In Ezek 2:2; 3:24, what spirit entered into Ezekiel here?
A: This is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not limited to being in only one place at one time.
Q: In Ezek 2:3-10, a word related to "rebel" is used six times. What are at least three different ways people, even God's people, can rebel from God?
A: There are at least three ways to look at rebellion.
Overt vs. Subtle: People can defiantly rebel, such as exclaiming "I refuse to do that." People can quietly and subtly rebel, just not dong it, or doing it half-heartedly, or delay in doing it, or doing it in a way where it will fail.
Turn away vs. Syncretize: The northern kingdom rebelled by being faithless to God. They stopped worshipping God and worshiped golden calves, as well as the Baals and Ashtoreths. Judah rebelled by being unfaithful to God. They continued to worship the True God, but they also would not give up worshipping the Baals and Ashtoreth idols too.
Private vs. Taking others with you: After Satan rebelled, and his doom was sealed, he wanted to take as many others with him as he could.
Q: In Ezek 2:4, people are ultimately obstinate because of their fallen nature. But what are different kinds of stubbornness, and what causes some people to be more obstinate and stubborn than others?
A: One form of stubbornness is trying the same thing over and over, getting the same result, and hoping you will get a different result next time.
Another form is not being able to learn from yours or others mistakes.
A worse form of being stubborn is no longer even caring about the outcome; you are going to do what you feel you are controlled to do regardless. Sometimes discipline and unpleasant consequences can be an aid to cure some types of stubbornness, but sometimes not even they help. Proverbs 22:15 says that foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it out.
Q: In Ezek 2:5, what was the point of sending a prophet to a stiff-necked people, since God already knew many of whom would not accept His words through Ezekiel?
A: God was not required to give people who rejected Him any further opportunity for repentance. Yet, God was merciful enough to send prophets to stiff-necked people, even while knowing that only a few of them would turn and repent.
Q: In Ezek 2:6, why were the rebellious people compared to scorpions?
A: Scorpions are unusual animals. They do not run or show any fear. They lie in wait for prey, and their tails are very effective against most other insects. Fearlessly trusting in the power of their tails seems foolish when they are up against a person's boot or shovel.
There is a useful parable told in Mexico, that goes all the way back to fable of the ancient Greek writer Aesop (http://www.aesopfables.com/cgi/aesop1.cgi?4&TheScorpionandtheFrog). It is about a scorpion, a frog, and a swollen river. When a flood was coming, a scorpion asked a frog to carry the scorpion across the river on its back. The frog initially said no, because it was afraid the scorpion would sting it and it would die. The scorpion promised not to do that, so the frog agreed. In the middle of the river, the scorpion stung the frog. As the frogs legs were turning cold by paralysis, the frog asked why the scorpion did that, since now they were both going to die. The scorpion said he could not help it; it was just his nature. That is the way some people are. Actually though, we all have an evil nature, and God is in the business of transforming us to be good and holy like Christ.
Q: In Ezek 2:7, why should Ezekiel keep speaking to a group of people after it would not do them any good because they refused to listen? Why should we?
A: There are two different reasons. While most of the people would not listen, some of them would. While a majority of the exiles and their children did not return to the Promised land, a minority, about 50,000, did. Ezekiel, like us, would not know who would listen to him and who would not; and so he told everyone. Everyone had the opportunity to listen to God's warnings through Ezekiel, but they would be held accountable for their choice.
Second, Ezekiel was made a watchman, and their blood would be on his head if he failed to warn them. He would be punished with loss of reward, if he was derelict in his duty, as Ezekiel 3:17-21 says.
Q: In Ezek 2:9-33 and Rev 10:8-11, what exactly does a scroll here represent?
A: It represents the Word of God that was for the people to hear. It tasted good because it was true, holy, and from God. However, the scroll in the vision in Revelation10:8-11 gave John's stomach indigestion, because it prophesied such devastating things.
Q: In Ezek 2:9-33 and Rev 10:8-11, in these visions, why was God having his servants eat and swallow a book?
A: In these visions, both Ezekiel and John the apostle, had to tell a message, and this metaphor signified that the message was straight from God. We are likewise to "digest" God's word and speak it forth. The truth of God's word also is compared to milk and meat in Hebrews 6.
Q: In Ezek 2:9-33 do you think God's message might have been in part "distasteful" to Ezekiel, like it caused a stomach ache for John? How do we announce what we need to announce, when our message, though sweet in one way, might give indigestion in other ways?
A: It might have been distasteful in a couple of different ways. First it might have been distasteful because Ezekiel cared for His people and the discipline they were under. Second the reaction Ezekiel knew many of them would have towards his words, and towards him, Ezekiel could see coming and would be distasteful. Sometimes we will avoid things that we know will be distasteful. But if God wants us to do it anyway, we should not avoid it just because it is distasteful.
Q: What are different ways one can be a messenger and how was Ezekiel a messenger? How should we be messengers?
A: One definition of a messenger is just a random person who delivers a message one time. That is not the kind of messenger Ezekiel was. God's message was his food. He metaphorically ate the scroll, because his life would be to speak its words. Ezekiel did not just tell the exiles his message once and then say "I am done with them." No, he gave warnings over and over, because they need to hear them over and over before some would repent and come back to God.
Likewise we too are to be messengers similar to Ezekiel. While we do not have the high calling of being a prophet and speaking the words of scripture for the first time, we are to be a letter from God to others (2 Corinthians 3:2-3), ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), speaking the words of God (1 Peter 4:11). The message of God is to be our life. We are to digest it by studying God's word, and live it out before the world.
Q: In Ezek 3:9, what is an adamant stone (diamond in the NIV)? How are some people like that?
A: There is some uncertainty as to which hard mineral is intended. The NIV simply translates this as the hardest stone, and the NET says "diamond". The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.6 p.764 says the Hebrew word indicates both hardness and sharpness. Some people are very hard-hearted against God. However, both Ezekiel in Ezekiel 3:9 and Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:18 were made hard in a good way by God. They not only had to be thick-skinned, with the scorn, ridicule, and well-placed discouraging words people would say against them, but they had to be faithful and persevere under physical persecution too.
Q: In Ezek 3:15, where is Tel-Abib?
A: This was a town south of Babylon on the Kebar River (actually canal). The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1670 says the modern Israeli town of Tel-Aviv is named after Tel-abib in Babylonia.
Q: In Ezek 3:17-21, does this show that people can lose their salvation?
A: Christians have various views:
1. Genuine believers, even in Old Testament times, cannot lose their salvation.
2. Genuine believers, in New Testament times, cannot lose their salvation.
3. Genuine believers can lose their salvation.
See the discussion on Heb 3:6 and Heb 3:14 for the answer.
Some (but not all) Church of Christ people believe Christians lose their salvation every time they ever sin, but they can get it back just a frequently. The Catholic church has taught that people lose their salvation for more serious (called they call mortal sins) sins, but not for less serious sins (which they call venial sins).
In the Roman Catholic Church says mortal sins are among the list of potential mortal sins committed knowing it was a serious matter, with adequate reflection beforehand, and of their free will. The list of potential mortal sins includes:
Did you miss Sunday Mass or a Holy Day of Obligation without good reason?
Did you Fail to Fast from Food and Drink for 1 hour before Communion? (Water and Medicine is permitted)
Did you Fail to Receive Holy Communion during Easter time?
Did you intentionally Fail to Fast on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday?
Did you intentionally Eat Meat on the Fridays of Lent or on Ash Wednesday?
Did you fail to Love, Help, or Obey your parents?
Did you Fail to Baptize your children within a few months of their birth?
Did you seriously Wish Evil upon another person?
Excessive Wealth [in March, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI added the 8th Deadly Sin of 'Excessive Wealth' to the list of Deadly Sins.]
These are from http://www.followthissite.com/list-of-sins.php (Aug 30, 2016)
Q: In Ezek 3:17-21 and Ezek 33:2-7, what is the significance of the watchman?
A: The watchman stood on the city wall watching for the enemy. If all the watchmen fell asleep or left their posts, the city would be effectively unguarded, since the guards would be asleep. If at least one watchman was awake, and sounded an alarm when the enemy came, the entire army could wake up and fight them off.
Today, if all the watchmen in a church were asleep, Satan would have an easy time. What is observed today in some parts is that the watchmen are awake, but some Pentecostal and charismatic leaders despise them as "heresy hunters". Watching against heresies is an old ministry, going all the way back to the apostles John and Paul. If one did not want to pay attention to books warning against heresies, one would want to throw out Galatians, Colossians, 2 Peter, 1 John, and Jude.
See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.183 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 3:17-21, how are we to be watchmen today?
A: As ambassadors for Christ, we have a responsibility to do our job and tell others God's word. God judges our ministry not just on how many people have been saved through our words, but on how many we have told.
Q: In Ezek 3:18,20, why would Ezekiel be responsible for the death of the wicked that he did not warn?
A: God gave Ezekiel a responsibility to warn others, and Ezekiel would be held accountable for failing to carry out his responsibilities. Paul apparently felt a similar obligation in Romans 1:14.
Q: In Ezek 3:20, when a righteous person turns away from God, why does God not remember the righteous things the man did?
A: If one believed in salvation by works, one might mistakenly conclude that God sort of "averaged" the good and bad deeds everyone did. However, Ezekiel 3:20 contradicts this false idea. Being in right relationship with God, or turning away from Him, is more important the number of good or bad works. Even the greatest number of the best of our works are insufficient to merit us salvation.
Q: In Ezek 3:20, does God forget some things?
A: It depends on your definition of forget.
No, God does not forget, in the sense that He loses information, or did not know what went on in our past, present, or future. God knows everything, and Psalm 139:16 says that all the days ordained for us were written in His book.
Yes, God does forget, here and in other places, in the sense that He does not judge something or count something as occurring. For example, because of Christ's sacrificial death on the cross, God forgets our iniquities.
Q: In Ezek 3:20, why does God lay a stumbling block before a man who turns from his righteousness?
A: We can see at least three reasons.
A test to see what is in the person's heart to do.
Discipline, bringing painful and negative consequences to help persuade the man to turn back to God.
Finally, death of a disobedient believer can keep him from messing up his life, and the lives of others, even more.
Q: In Ezek 3:21, how does Ezekiel warning a man deliver Ezekiel's soul?
A: This verse is not speaking of Ezekiel's salvation or going to Heaven, but rather the account He will have to give when Ezekiel stands before God. Believers will receive greater or lesser rewards in Heaven, based on their works, according to 1 Corinthians 3:12-15.
Q: In Ezek 3:21, how was God himself making Ezekiel's tongue unable to speak?
A: Ezekiel was a godly man, but obviously he would say things God would not want Him to say, at least not at that time. Obedient believers today still need to watch what they say, especially when they have anger, as James 1:19-20 shows. Sometimes you can say things that are correct but not useful to God. Sometimes you can want to say what are good things to say, but your timing is not what God wants.
Q: In Ezek 3:26, why was God Himself even deliberately putting a barrier on an obedient believer who spoke God's word?
A: The answer can be seen in Ezekiel 3:27. God did not want Ezekiel just to speak "good" words, He wanted Ezekiel to speak only the "best" words, that is, words directly from God. He wanted Ezekiel to speak to the people God desired, at the time God desired. Paul was in a similar situation in Acts 16:6-7, where the Holy Spirit prohibited Paul from speaking in the Roman province of Asia and Bithynia at that time. See also the previous question for more discussion.
Q: In Ezek 4:1 (KJV), what is a "tile" and what does "pourtray" mean?
A: A tile was a tablet, usually made out of clay. "Pourtray" means to "portray".
Q: In Ezek 4:4-6, how could Ezekiel never move all this time?
A: Ezekiel was not in this position 24 hours a day, because in Ezekiel 4:8-12, he was still to cook food, eat and drink. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1235 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 4:4-6, did these days represent years in the past and present, or the future?
A: While a few people have thought they represent years in the future, they must be years that had already passed, up through the present for the following reasons.
1. These represented years of their sin, not the years of their punishment.
2. If it were future, it would be strange for God to rebuke them for sins that they had not yet committed and not speak about the sins they had already done.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1235-1236 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 4-5, why did Ezekiel prophesy through the actions of these detailed role-plays instead of just using words?
A: God can use any means He desires. While scripture does not say, we can see some good reasons. God previous sent other prophets to the people, and most of the people still did not turn back to God. At this point, it was not that the people needed to be taught new information, rather they needed rebuke for not following the truth they already knew. In addition to just clearly telling the people, God used these role-plays to graphically illustrate to the people the imminent consequences of their continuing to sin.
Today, it is good to use a variety of means of input in communicating to others.
Q: In Ezek 4:4-5,9, what is the significance of 390 days representing 390 years of Israel's sin?
A: While the Septuagint says 190 days, all of the Hebrew manuscripts say 390 days. Given that they had a 360-day year, this would go back to 1106 B.C.
This means that the sin God is judging them for went all the way back to the time of Saul. Even during the time of King David, many in Israel and Judah were still practicing idolatry.
The idolatry of the Israelites was judged within a generation under the time of the judges. After they had a king, the idolatry was not judged, but continued to build. Today, some sins receive judgment immediately, and others do not, but the judgment builds up. One analogy is too much water of God's wrath piling up behind the dam of God's mercy, until the dam finally gives way.
Q: In Ezek 4:6, what is the significance of a year of lying down, one day for each year, for the sins of Judah?
A: Given that they had a 360-day year, this would be 355 of our years. Either:
a) The sins were up to the current time, which would mean that Israel's sin started about 30 years before Judah's.
b) Judah's period of gross sin started much later, and thus the judgment came later.
Q: In Ezek 4:6, how did the Israelites rob God of their time? How do we rob God of our time?
A: Certain kinds of sins, such as murder, stealing, or adultery, are oft-vilified sins that affect other people. But breaking the Sabbath was different, in that it was breaking the commitment of their time to God. God asked for all that time back, - by the exile.
Today it is important not to murder, steal, or commit adultery too. But while we are no longer need to regard the Sabbath and other "shadows" of the reality of Christ (Colossians 2:16-17), we are still to give our time to God. Do you do spend a lot of time doing things that do not benefit yourself, but only benefit God and His work?
Being slothful does not just mean doing nothing instead of what you ought to do. It can also entail making yourself busy doing a lot of things, instead of what you ought to do.
Q: In Ezek 4:9-13 after this probably nobody asked Ezekiel to be their chef! If God asked you to do a ministry where the food was monotonous, the work was tedious, or the environment was not exciting, would you still be excited about doing God's will? Why or why not?
A: You would not be very enthusiastic if you took your eyes off of the goal. The goal is not what we do day to day, but rather to use what we do day to day to glorify God and bring the message of eternal life to others. A story goes that three brick-layers on a job site were asked what they were doing. The first said "I am laying bricks". The second said, "I am building a wall". The third said, "I am creating a cathedral. Actually they were all doing the same thing, but they had very different views of what they were doing.
Q: In Ezek 4:12, why was Ezekiel asked to make barley cakes, using human dung as fuel?
A: This demonstrated vividly how the Jews would be reduced to cooking their food. Wheat is one of the best grains, but millet is usually eaten by animals and the poor.
Q: In Ezek 4:12-15, why did God change His command once Ezekiel complained?
A: God already knew Ezekiel would raise this objection. God could have communicated this in three ways.
1. Force Ezekiel to use human dung. Others could have criticized Ezekiel for breaking the sanitary laws of the Torah.
2. Initially tell Ezekiel to use animal dung. This would have given the wrong impression that they would be using only animal dung, and taken away from the seriousness of the warning.
3. Best of all, initially tell Ezekiel to use human dung. When Ezekiel objected, as any Jew would, God said He would relent and allow animal dung instead. This shows that human dung would be used, but that Ezekiel did not have to use human dung. This is what God did, anticipating Ezekiel's reaction.
Q: In Ezek 4:16 how did Ezekiel drink water with anxiety (KJV has astonishment)?
A: In this role-play, Ezekiel was to drink water as though he was cautious and fearful of danger. The exiles will not only be stripped of their wealth, land, and possessions, they will be settled in a place that will hold dangers for them. There was a dangerous threat to the Jews when Haman was prime minister in Esther's time. Security is not a right for those who rebel against God.
Q: In Ezek 5, what is a timeline of the start of the exile?
Here is a timeline of Jerusalem and the start of the exile.
|609||Jehoahaz reigned for only 3 months.||2 Ki 23:31; 2 Chr 36:2|
|609-598||Jehoiakim reigned for 11 months.||2 Ki 23:36; 2 Chr 36:5|
|598-597||Jehoiachin reigned for 3 months 10 days.||2 Ki 24:8; 2 Chr 36:9|
|March 16, 597||Jerusalem is captured; 10,000 exiled.||2 Ki 24:10-16|
|597-587/586||Governor Zedekiah for 11 years||2 Ki 24:18; 2 Chr 36:11; Jer 52:1-11|
|589-587||Jews rebel against Babylonians.|
|July 18, 587/586||Jerusalem and the temple are destroyed. Many are exiled||2 Ki 25; 2 Chr 36:17-21|
|581||Babylonians deport more from Judah.||Jer 52:27-30|
|538||Cyrus of Persia permits the exiles to return.||2 Chr 36:22-23|
Q: In Ezek 5:1-2, what was personally objectionable about shaving your head like that?
A: There were a number of things.
a) If an Israelite priest shaved his head, he would be defiled according to Leviticus 21:5.
b) When people saved either their beard or hair, they might use a knife similar to a straight edge today. A sword would do a coarse, less precise job, which would not matter if you were shaving the head of a slave. It was a sign of humiliation as 2 Samuel 10:4 indicates.
Not the answer: Gentiles sometimes shaved their heads in pagan worship (Ezekiel 27:31; Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 16:16; Amos 8:10) but that is not relevant here, because God commanded it.
Q: In Ezek 5:1-4, what was symbolized by Ezekiel shaving his hair and getting rid of it in three ways?
A: This symbolize the fate of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. One-third would be destroyed by fire, one-third put to the sword, and one-third "scattered to the winds" in exile. There some would be killed, many would assimilate with the surrounding peoples and only some would remain as Jews. Only a remnant, a few strands, would be preserved.
Q: In Ezek 5:6, how did God's people change God's justice into something more wicked than the nations around them?
A: Judgment in civil and criminal matters, in a just way, is pleasing to God. However, when the wicked go free and the righteous suffer unjustly, that turns "justice", which should be pleasing to God, into a wicked thing.
Q: In Ezek 5:6-7, why would people who knew of God be more wicked than those who did not know God?
A: Judicially, those who know the truth and deliberately turn away bear greater guilt than those who do not know so much. See 2 Peter 2:20-22, Romans 4:15 and 5:13.
Experientially, those who doe not hold God in awe, and deliberately practice disobedience, get better at what they practice.
Q: In Ezek 5:10, Jer 19:9; Lam 4:10, are these verses speaking of actual cannibalism?
A: Yes, it is. This is neither a commandment of God, nor desired by God. Rather, God is using Ezekiel to sadly, but accurately, predict what God's disobedient people will do, because of their sin and the severity of their judgment.
A concept to learn here is that sin often forces you to sin even more, both directly, and as in this case, indirectly through both its cover-up and its consequences.
Q: In Ezek 5:11, how did they defile God's sanctuary with vile images?
A: They put images in God's holy place that did not belong there. God's feeling about this idolatry in His temple was so strong, that in Ezekiel 6:5, God "promised" them he would lay their dead bodies before their dead idols. This strange imagery shows just how much God hates idols.
By the way, do you have any images of pagan idols in your house? See also the discussion on Isaiah 30:22 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 5:12, when would 1/3 of Jerusalem be killed by plague and famine, 1/3 killed by the sword, and 1/3 scattered?
A: This happened when the Babylonians captured Jerusalem after they rebelled in 587/586 B.C.
Q: In Ezek 5:16 when does God shoot to warn and wound, and when does God shoot to destroy?
A: God can do as He wishes. But often, much as a human father or ruler, God might warn before bringing on unpleasant consequences. Then He might discipline so that the person, or people, will turn to him. But in this case, for most of the people, God was no longer interested in doing either one. They completely wanted to turn away from God, and so He had them removed from the land permanently.
Q: In Ezek 5:17, what are the "evil beasts" here?
A: While some might consider wild lions and bears "evil", because of the harm they can do to people, that is not about what this verse is speaking. These are truly evil beasts in a moral sense. They are probably the locusts from the Abyss mentioned in Revelation 9:3-11.
Q: In Ezek 6:1-4 and Ezek 36:1, why is God having Ezekiel prophesy against the inanimate mountains of Israel?
A: The mountains were not evil of themselves. One might mistakenly think so, since much of the Canaanite religion centered on mountain shrines. The mountains are a personification of the people of Judah, so God was really speaking to the people. Two reasons God might have wanted to use this particular personification is that the people often worshipped at Canaanite high places, which were often on mountains, and people trusted the mountain fortifications for protection against invaders. However, God promises that Israelites will return and dwell on the mountains. See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.183 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 6:1-4, 5:1,12 why is God going directly to the heart of their problem with idolatry instead of gradually mentioning smaller sins and then gradually working up to it?
A: Sin grows, so dealing with only an outer layer of sin does not good without getting to the core. If the core is rotten then the apple is rotten. Just dealing with peripherals would be a little like telling an overweight robber and murderer that he should skip a few desserts.
Q: In Ezek 6:1-4, 5:1,12, since the people wanted to go to high places to worship, why not just re-purpose the high places to worship the true God instead of the Canaanite idols? After all, pagans "re-purposed" the temple in Jerusalem for pagan idols?
A: Cost and convenience of a place is not God's main concern; the heart of the people's worship is. First of all, God commanded them not to worship in the high places, and that alone is reason enough. But beyond that, to repurpose the high places would lead to confusion about who was being worshipped there. It could lead to syncretism, a false belief that the idols and the true God were basically the same, or at least compatible. God felt very strongly about that. He said their dead bodies would be in front of their idols, which would desecrate the altars in the eyes of pagans too, as well as Jewish worshippers of God. Under Stalin in the U.S.S.R, standing in front of the Kremlin saying that the Czars were the beast, would get a more positive reception among men, then standing before God in a place of worship and worshipping idols.
Q: In Ezek 6:1-7, when people fall away from God, do you think it is usually mainly because of one thing, or a number of things?
A: With some people it can be from multiple influences, but often it is one main thing. It could be something "active" such as fear of persecution, besetting sins such as alcohol or drugs, unmet expectations they had of God. It could be putting their trust in a person, and then being disillusioned at the life of that person, instead of putting their trust in God. It could be expecting God to meet some conditions, and being disappointed when God does not. Or it could be something "passive" such as drifting away to material things, or just laziness about walking with God. But if someone has walked away from God for those reasons, they can come back.
Q: In Ezek 6:8-10, in Old Testament times, or today, what would cause a rebellious person to go back to remembering God, loathing themselves for the evil they have done, and want to go back to God?
A: Sometimes they might wake up and see the fruit of their past disobedience, knowing that it could have been different. A person's sin can affect the people around them too, so it might not just be the bad consequences they see in their own life, but how it impacted others. Or it could be perceiving their impending doom, that causes their eyes to open. Proverbs 22:15 says that foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it out. In Zechariah 12:10-14 the people of Israel will mourn the one they have pierced.
Q: In Ezek 6:9, how could idolatrous people "lust" after their idols?
A: They did not just follow their idols out of a sense of duty or fear, but rather they eagerly sought pleasure in the experience with their idols. They might but their faith in that idol, imagining security, reverence, or possible love from that idol, blind to the fact that it is all a lie. As people can lust after sex, money, or material things, they lusted after religious experience with their idols. Proverbs 23:7 says that as a person thinks in heart, so he is.
Q: In Ezek 6:9, is it ever good for a person to "loathe" themselves? What about the importance of a positive self-image?
A: Contrary to some modern cultures, it can be good to have disgust for the wrongs we have done. Loathe means to hate what you are or what you have done. While remembering that we are made in God's image, and the elect are precious to God, it is sometimes good to for a person to loathe what they have done.
Q: In Ezek 6:10, does God do evil here?
A: Evil can mean physical harm, and it can also mean moral evil. God does do physical harm many times, but God does not do moral evil.
Q: In Ezek 6:11, why was Ezekiel called to strike his hands together and say "alas" when Israel's enemies were criticized for doing almost the same thing in Ezek 25:6?
A: It is fine to praise God for His justice, but we should have a heart for the lost too. We should not celebrate our profit off of the misfortune of others.
There was a story of someone asking a Baptist about their pastor, and the Baptist said they had fired him, because he said that the lost were going to Hell. The person was shocked and asked him what the new pastor taught. He said the new pastor taught that the lost were going to Hell too. "What was the difference?" the person asked. The Baptist said that the first pastor said it with glee in his voice, and the second pastor said it with a tear in his eye.
In Revelation 19:1-4 believers in heaven will rejoice over the fall of the prostitute named Babylon. See The NIV Study Bible p.1236 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 6:14, where is Diblah/Riblah, and why would God have desolation from the desert to there?
A: The "desert" would refer to the Negev in the southern-most part of Judah. Most Hebrew manuscripts have "Diblah", but a few have "Riblah". The correct reading is almost certainly Riblah for a couple of reasons.
There is no known town in Judah named Diblah. There was a town in Moab called "Beth Diblathaim in Jeremiah 48:22, and we see no reason why that town would be in view. Finally, Riblah, a city north of Damascus on the Orontes River, was very significant.
At Riblah on the Orontes River, the king of Egypt bound Jehoahaz in 608 BC. Also at Riblah the Babylonian king passed sentence on Zedekiah. The difference is whether a horizontal stroke meets a vertical stroke (r) or goes past the vertical stroke (d). See the New International Bible Commentary p.816, The NIV Study Bible p.1236, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1239 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 6 and Ezek 7:9, why is God so direct and negative in speaking to His people?
A: On one way, God is like a cheerleader "rooting" for them to chose to escape His judgment. However, here God is warning them severely of what will happen when His judgment comes. This is more than just like a mother yelling at her child not to run into a busy street. Ezekiel 7:9 specifically says it is God who will strike the blow.
God has both love and wrath. To give an imperfect example, during the American Revolution a personal friend of George Washington's was convicted of spying for the British. Washington probably could have used his influence to have the close friend of his spared. But the man was guilty, and so Washington did nothing, and the man was executed.
Q: In Ezek 7:1-4, is there a limit to God's patience?
A: Scripture says yes in 1 Thessalonians 2:16. In Genesis 15:16b, the Amorites were bad, but their "sin had not yet reached its full measure". Ezekiel 7 speaks of doom, and irreversible, catastrophic end. As the northern kingdom of Israel would never exist again, life as they knew it would forever end in the southern kingdom too. In Matthew 22:1-14 Jesus tells the parable of the wedding banquet. Many are invited, but few are chosen.
Q: In Ezek 7:2 (twice), 7:3; 7:6 (twice), Amos 8:2, what does "then end has come" mean?
A: This means their doom has come. Perhaps things looked uncertain before this point, and God gave them a season to repent, but that period has passed, and their doom is here, and there is no more time for them. It is the end of their prosperity, their safety, and much of their wickedness. It would be the end of their life as they knew it.
Q: In Ezek 7:4, why does God not have pity here?
A: God has compassion on all He has made according to Psalm 145:13,17. God delays according to 2 Peter 3:9, because He does not want to anyone to perish, -who is going to repent. However, there comes a time when a person will never repent. Likewise God's patience has limits (1 Thessalonians 2:16; Genesis 15:16; Revelation 10:6; Psalm 2:5,12 Romans 2:5).
Q: In Ezek 7:10-11, what does it mean that doom has burst forth, the rod has budded, and arrogance has blossomed, and violence has grown into a rod?
A: God delays bringing doom to give people time to repent. However, things can get worse with delays. As a plant grows, sin grows too. When sin "blossoms", like a dandelion weed, then God deals with it. Sin, like a malignant cancer, does not stay stagnant; it grows. Sin breeds more sin, and is never satiated. James 1:15 says that desire gives birth to sin, and sin, when full-grown, brings forth death.
Q: In Ezek 7:14, what are examples today of blowing the battle trumpet and no one coming?
A: In World War II the Americans knew the Japanese were sending a large force of ships and troops to invade the Philippines. But the American aircraft were ready for them, loaded with ship-sinking torpedoes. Except that there had not been time to test the torpedoes, and it turns out they did not work. The entire Japanese occupation of the Philippines, including the notorious prison camps, might have not happened if the torpedoes had worked. The American air force itself performed their job well; but if everyone did not do their job, including the companies that designed and made the torpedoes, then even the vigilance of some was for naught. See also the wikipedia article on Pearl Harbor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCR-270_radar 11/28/2014.
Q: In Ezek 7:15, inside were plague and famine. How can a city wall, built for protection against the outside, serve as a prison keeping people inside, and be their undoing?
A: The sword was outside; famine and plague were inside. The city walls for built for protection when an attacker came. However, people can fail to flee temptation and sin, because they think the walls are thick enough to keep them from being detected, or more often, thick enough to shield them from most of the consequences. Then the walls became a way of keeping them in and preventing their escape. When we sin and build walls to protect ourselves from the consequences of our sin, sometimes those walls can become a prison to us too. When people put up laws or other walls to protect their sinful lifestyle, those can become bonds.
In a similar way, a person's defenses against Christianity can prevent their escape from Satan's plans. Also a person fortifications, whether financial, emotional, or intellectual can keep them from thinking they have to escape disaster.
Q: In Ezek 7:17, what do knees as weak as water mean?
A: On the surface it would look like the people could barely stand because of terror. However, Ezekiel was not one to use delicate words. The Septuagint translators interpreted this as a terror so great they lose control of their bladder. See the New International Bible Commentary p.817 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 7:19-22, why would God not be interested in the beautiful things of the temple anymore?
A: At times the Salvation Army gets some unusual donations, including expensive diamond rings. If a man gives a woman an expensive engagement ring, and later she calls off the engagement and returns the ring, what should the man do with it? Some might keep it for the next girl, but others, seeing that it was spurned, do not desire it anymore and give it to the Salvation Army to sell to give the money to the poor. God might look on beautiful religious buildings in a similar way.
While people could look on the outward beauty of the temple furnishings, God could undoubtedly see the beauty of the people who sacrificed and gave for those things. But when they were polluted and given over to others (idols), God lost interest in them. Sometimes it might be that there can be something beautifully dedicated to God, but when it is profaned enough, it only brings up bad memories and God is not interested in that anymore.
Q: In Ezek 7:22,what is involved when God turns His face from a place or a people?
A: As we will learn about later in Ezekiel, they no longer have favor with God. Sometimes they do not have security, and sometimes they do not have prosperity, But sometimes they have both, but are not able to enjoy them.
Q: In Ezek 7:23, why were they to make chains?
A: Ezekiel is pointing out a small detail to substantiate a major point. The invading army would need to go to the trouble to make large quantities of chains, because they would need many chains for all the Israelites they were going to enslave.
Q: In Ezek 7:26, why would the teaching of the law and the vision of the prophet be lost, since God wants people to hear His message?
A: Isaiah says that God's word endures forever in Isaiah 40:8. So of course it would not be lost in heaven, not totally absent from the earth. But it would not be available to most of the people. This was also true for the common people in Europe in the Middle Ages. It sounds strange that God would allow His words to be unavailable.
But God requires that we hold His word to be holy. Not just only in the sense that God's people are called to be holy, but that God's Word, though written down with human authors, is holy beyond all writings of mere men. If people do not want to hold it holy, and if they do not want to obey what is in it, then why should they have the privilege of even seeing it. Indeed, for those who reject God's word, 2 Peter 2:21 and Jeremiah 42:19-22 indicate it is better not to know the way of truth than to know it and turn their back on it. Many reprobate non-believers have not rejected the entire gospel, because they have not heard the entire gospel. But when they have already rejected the parts that they have heard, there is no obligation that they should have to hear the rest of it.
Q: In Ezek 7:27, which Jewish king would be mourning here?
A: The ruler of Judah under the Babylonians was the governor Zedekiah. The last king, Jehoiachin, was still alive, but in chains in Babylon. Ezekiel is referring to Jehoiachin when he refers to the king, as in Ezekiel 1:2. He always uses the term prince when referring to Zedekiah in Ezekiel 12:10,12; 21:25.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament p.1242 and The NIV Study Bible p.1237 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 8-11, what is the significance of the date of this vision?
A: This second vision, on September 17, 592 B.C., was exactly 14 months after the first vision. During these visions Jerusalem was captured, but not destroyed. It was captured on March 16, 597 B.C. Gedaliah was served as the governor for ten years. Judah rebelled from Babylon in 589 B.C., and Jerusalem was captured and destroyed on July 18, 587 or 586 B.C.
There are four parts to the vision, one part for each chapter. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1242, The NIV Study Bible p.1237, the New International Bible Commentary p.817, for more info. The Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.567 simply says this was in September, 592 B.C. The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol. 6 p.781 says it was August/September 592 B.C.
Q: In Ezek 8:1-6, what does the first part of this vision mean?
A: This is a glorious and yet tragic picture. It shows the glory of God, which the Temple was put on earth to represent. It also shows three types of gross sin, that even the Israelite leaders practiced. The Jerusalem that was shown in the vision was the earthly Jerusalem, with its idol in it. The purpose of the vision is in verse 6, where God wants Ezekiel to see very clearly, and tell others, what drives God far from His sanctuary in Jerusalem. See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.183-184 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 8:3,5 was this idol in the temple in Ezekiel's time or before?
A: It is probably before the time of the prophet. Both history in general, and Jeremiah in particular do not mention any existing idol, and Jeremiah prophesied at the same time as Ezekiel. But prior to this, King Manasseh placed an idol in the temple in 2 Kings 21:7. King Josiah, who lived prior to Ezekiel, destroyed it in 2 Kings 23:6. So even past sins, that are no longer being done, are still an abomination to God if they are not repented of.
See the Evangelical Bible Commentary p.567 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 8:3,5 what drove God to jealousy? What drives God to jealousy today?
A: A person might be very jealous if they see their spouse in a special place, their bed, with another person. They are jealous because they cared about the spouse, and about the relationship. They are also angry because the spouse does not appear to care so much about it. They might also be jealous because prior to this they thought the spouse cared deeply about the relationship, but it now appears to be all a lie. All of the love they thought the spouse felt for them before, what was that?
Similarly, God cared very deeply about His people, and, at times, they appeared to care deeply about Him. But, in a special place, in the Temple, they were now bowing down and showing their allegiance to what God knew was a piece of dung. While the people looked bad bowing down to it, their relationship with God, and their honoring of God looked even worse.
Today, when those who claim to be God's people worship another, either in place of God, or like many Jews, in addition to God, God is highly offended. Some do not have an idol god, but worship the idol of money.
Q: In Ezek 8:6,13 are there degrees of "detestableness" or degrees of sin?
A: Yes, as the following verses show.
John 19:11, Jesus told Pilate that those who handed Jesus over to Pilate were "guilty of greater sin".
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is different from other sins as it is unpardonable (Matthew 12:31,32; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10-11).
1 John 5:16-17 speaks of a sin which leads to death (blasphemy of the Holy Spirit) and other sins which do not.
Romans 1:24-28 speaks of wicked people being given over to greater and greater depravity.
Ezekiel 8:6,13 shows that some sins are more detestable to God than others.
In Matthew 23:14 Jesus says the Pharisees will have greater condemnation.
Matthew 23:15 says that some of the Pharisees' disciples would be twice the sons of Hell as they were.
In Luke 10:12 Jesus said that in the judgment it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for those who rejected Jesus.
However, this being said, all sin is the same in one sense: even one sin is enough to keep you from being perfect and going to Heaven, and even breaking one law is enough to convict you as a lawbreaker (James 2:8-11)
See Now That's a Good Question p.150-152 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 8:10, why would they be worshipping animals and other crawling things?
A: The Egyptians were known for worshipping animals, and animal-headed gods. This imagery might be similar to the Egyptian Book of the Dead. A copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead (in one of its variants) was made by a scribe to be buried with a rich person, so that in the afterlife the rich person would have a "breathing permit" and be able to live in the afterlife. We have many copies in museums today.
In general people can be prone to worshipping that which is dangerous. Perhaps unconsciously, if they worship something dangerous, like a poisonous snake, then perhaps that dangerous thing will look upon their worship and not hurt them.
This sounds similar to Romans 1:23, which says that people exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images of men, birds, animals, and reptiles. Sometimes people want to worship the idols of a foreign culture, just because they appear exotic and foreign to them.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.817-818 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.567 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 8:11-12 (KJV), who were the "ancients" of the sons of Israel?
A: This means the elders among the Israelites.
Q: In Ezek 8:14, what was wrong with weeping for Tammuz?
A: Tammuz, also called Dumuzi, was a Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian idol of fertile crops. In Sumerian mythology, his wife, Inanna had him dragged off to Hell. (It's a long story that we do not need to go into here.) Anyway, in some versions, he returns to earth every spring and departs for Hell every fall. A religious rite was for the women to weep at the season when he allegedly died, and to rejoice when he was revived.
He was equivalent to the Syrian idol Adonis, which is might be the one loved by women in Daniel 11:37, according to the New International Bible Commentary p.818.
Q: In Ezek 8:14, does the Christian practice of Good Friday and Easter Sunday owe something to the rite of Tammuz, as the skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.586 claims?
A: No, Asimov has no basis for this assertion. Jesus voluntarily choosing to once and for all die, and being raised from the dead, no more to die, is very different from Tammuz being taken to Hell against His will, and repeating the process every year.
Tammuz was equivalent to the Syrian idol Adonis, which is might god the one loved by women in Daniel 11:37, according to the New International Bible Commentary p.818.
Q: In Ezek 8:17, what does "putting the branch to their nose" mean?
A: The Hebrew we have today says "branch to their nose". However some Jewish commentators said this was "stench", and also "their" should be "my". Thus it might be "putting the stench to their nose" or "putting the stench to my [God's] nose". See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1245 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 8:8-18, why did God let all of this wickedness continue for so long?
A: We do not know why God is as patient as He is, or exactly how He chooses the limits of His patience. We can see that on one hand, if there were no nation of Israel or Judah, God's people would not prosper or grow. It would be more difficult to train their children and easier just to assimilate into the idolatrous cultures around them. One can see strong reasons for God to not want to exile His people.
On the other hand, the idolatry was not only serious, it was pervasive. During the time of Queen Jezebel (probably pronounced Itobal by the Tyrians), there were only 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18). The idolatry included infant sacrifice and religious prostitution. When the idolatry was this pervasive, this bad, institutionalized, and getting worse, then perhaps exile and collecting the remnant was preferable to letting this situation continue.
Q: In Ezek 8:8-18, why will God pitilessly not hear them, even though they cry out to God?
A: When they rejected God and turned a deaf ear to His commands, God was not obligated to hear them either. Even so, God would have heard them [answered their prayer] if the had repented of all their wickedness. But, God does not answer the prayers of people who themselves turn a deaf ear to the poor (Proverbs 21:13), cherish sin (Psalm 66:18), are wicked (Proverbs 15:29; Isaiah 59:1-3), or refuse to listen to God (Zechariah 7:11-14).
Q: In Ezekiel 8:16, why would people be attracted to worshipping the sun or other heavenly bodies?
A: God warned them not to worship the sun, moon, or stars in Deuteronomy 4:19. Yet they turned their backs to God (2 Chronicles 29:5-7) and Josiah stopped the worship of the sun, moon, and stars (2 Kings 23:5,11).
The sun, moon, and stars are beautiful, mysterious, far away, and do not require anything from their worshippers. They provide order, and the sun's influence is powerful. Yet sun worshippers would have no reservations about worshipping other things in addition to the sun. Sometimes people would rather worship something that is powerful, but does not make any demands on them, rather than the most powerful being, who does make demands on our life and behavior.
Q: In Ezek 9:2, what is the higher gate?
A: This was the northern gate of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is possible that this also represents a gate between Heaven and earth. Threats to Israel generally came from the north, and this was certainly a threatening thing.
Q: In Ezek 9:2, why would God have the destroying angels being at His sanctuary?
A: God apparently wanted the religious evildoers, and the evildoers with more knowledge, destroyed first.
Q: In Ezek 9:3, what two things might be symbolized by God in His glory moving from the sanctuary to the threshold of the temple?
A: God was slowly showing that the place where His people worshipped Him, and abandoning it and them, to the end that they deserve. God was moving out, and His glory, presence, and protection would be gone. this was a last, fleeting pause, to remember before God left that temple forever.
Q: In Ezek 9:4, what was the mark?
A: The Hebrew speaks of this "mark" as the letter "Tau", from which our letter "T" came. Tau was the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, possibly indicating complete. It was the first letter of the Hebrew word "Torah". See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1045 and the New International Bible Commentary p.818 for more info.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1245 sees this as a foreshadowing of the 144,000 in Revelation 7:3-4.
6. In Ezek 9:6-7, historically, who actually did the killing?
A: Babylonian soldiers did the bulk of the killing. However, they appeared to have some allies in the Philistines and Edomites. However, God not only allowed it, but God explicitly chose to use the Babylonians as the rod of His judgment. Sheba (in modern-day Yemen) and other nations were not a part of the fighting against Israel, but they profited from the destruction.
Q: In Ezek 9:8-10, why would God have this killing occur?
A: The Jews, who knew the most about God, and should have been close to God, had forsaken God and were as bad as the nations around them, who knew little about God. God was tired of people called by His name having a pretence of following Him, yet completely turning their backs on Him, yet trusting that they would be OK as long as they had His Temple. God was not going to let His Temple be held "hostage" that way. When God's people revolted against Him, so God found them revolting and Jeremiah 12:8 said that therefore God hated them.
Q: In Ezek 9:9, what three things are listed that provoked God to such great anger?
A: Three things are mentioned. 1) the land is full of bloodshed, 2) the city is full of injustice, and 3) they claim God has forsaken them, (i.e. God does not care anymore what they do)
It is interesting to consider that the third thing brings about the second, and the second brings about the first.
Q: In Ezek 9:9, how do people provoke God in these three ways today?
A: People live as sinful as they please, like there is no accountability. Even religious people can be what are called "practical atheists". While they might believe in God, their behavior indicates that they act as if there is no God.
But if someone lives like there is no God, what prevents them from doing wrong, when no one is looking? What prevents them from taking advantage of others, if they can get away with it?
If someone feels it is within their rights to take advantage of others, and someone else gets in their way, what would stop them from harming or killing the person, if they thought they could get away with it?
Q: In Ezek 10:2-5, what as the purpose of scattering the coals over the city?
A: It does not say the coals hurt anyone or caused any problems. It also does not say the coals benefitted anyone. Perhaps the coals were meant to cause smoke and hide the fact that God's glory was leaving this place.
Q: In Ezek 10:6, what could the fire represent?
A: A coal could be various temperatures. Unless it is very hot, you cannot tell by looking at it. In contrast to that, a fire is obviously hot. This could represent God's judgment. How much fire does it take to burn down a forest, or a city. It only takes a spark.
Q: In Ezek 10:9-17, show would you describe overall the vision here?
A: The cherubim and the wheels are beautiful, intricate, and maneuver in any direction, are not bound by limitations we have, such as gravity, and can move quickly. The cherubim had a few human characteristics, such as hands like a man, and one of their faces was like a man. However, overall they looked more non-human than human.
Q: In Ezek 10:14, what does the face of a cherub look like?
A: If these were the same creatures mentioned in Revelation 4:7, the description of the four faces is the same, except that Revelation says "calf" instead of "cherub".
Q: In Ezek 10:15-19, why did God's presence leave Jerusalem, since Ps 132:13-14 says it would be His resting place forever?
A: Psalm 132:13-14 says that it will be God's resting place for eternity. Two points to consider in the answer.
1. Even though God's presence left the Temple in Jerusalem, God certainly still knew what was going on in Jerusalem. His presence leaving Jerusalem does not necessarily equate to it not still being His resting place.
2. Even if it was not God's resting place during that time, the New Jerusalem still will be God's resting place. Psalm 132:13-14 says that God will dwell here forever; it does not specify when in the future God's resting place would be there never to leave.
Q: In Ezek 10:19b, what is the significance of them stopping at the east gate.
A: They were above the north gate, where coal and fire were taken out, and then they made a quarter of a circle to go to the east gate. The paused at the east gate before leaving that temple forever. Once the glory left that temple it fell, never to be used again.
Q: In Ezek 10, when in history do you think God's glory has departed from a church or movement? Why?
A: There are a number of times.
Church after Constantine: In 324 A.D. Constantine because the sole Emperor of the Roman Empire. After legalizing Christianity, and later making it the official religion, he non-violently persecuted Jews and worshippers of pagan gods by closing down synagogues and pagan temples. they were encouraged to go to church instead, and many did. Some say Christianity has not fully recovered since. When bishop started talking about their "thrones" and Christians started persecuting others, God's glory was departing.
The Roman Catholic Church after 1000 A.D. the popes became extremely corrupt in Rome. How bad were some Popes? According to Austin's Topical History of Christianity, p.148,
"Then [after 904] began the so-called "pornocracy," during which Theodora and her two daughters, Theodora the Younger and Marozia, virtually controlled Rome and the church itself. Enticing harlots, these women had sold their bodies for positions, titles, and land, giving them widespread power. Marozia had an illicit affair with Pope Serius III, from which was born a son who later became Pope John XI. When Marozia sought to have herself crowned empress, her younger son Alberic kidnapped and imprisoned his mother, incarcerated his half brother, the pope, and became emperor himself. He reigned from 932 to 954, exercising absolute control over the papacy. After Alberic's death, his son Octavian was elected as Pope John XII, and proved to be the most odious member of this depraved family.
b. The Otto Regimes. In 962, the wicked John XII crowned the German king Otto I as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Thinking he had an ally in depravity, John soon found the new emperor to be a man of character and devoted to restoring the papacy to decency and honor. When Otto assembled a synod to discuss deposing John, the pope threatened them all with excommunication, but they deposed him anyway. Three months later John called another synod which rescinded what Otto's synod had done. Therefore Otto decided upon force to rid the papacy of its evil ruler.
... The next forty-two years [after 1004] of papal history were filled with intense rivalry, expedient mediocrity, spiritual impotence, vice, and corruption. It seemed to reach its lowest depth with the election of a degenerate twelve-year-old boy, Pope Benedict IX (1032-1045) who after shameful debauchery and erratic administration, sold the holy tiara (i.e. office of the Pope) to the highest bidder. He was known as Gregory VI (1045-1046)...."
The Roman Catholic Church prior to the Reformation. The Council of Constance in 1415 was to settle the claims of three simultaneous rival popes. The Reformer Jan Huss was invited to come and discuss his views, and the Emperor gave him a promise of safe conduct. Once Huss arrived, he was treacherously burned at the stake.
Church in France just prior to the French Revolution: The church became rich, powerful, and violent. They had power of life and death over people.
German Tubingen school: developed higher criticism that took away many people's confidence in the Bible. They used to say (but do not anymore), that the gospels were second or third century documents, David and various other historical figures never existed, and other false things that have since been refuted by archaeology and ancient manuscripts.
Liberal American seminaries: Many famous universities served a good seminaries, such as Yale and Princeton. Since that time, they have drifted away from believing God's word.
Many American mainline denominations: The United Presbyterian Church has a statement against the inerrancy of the Bible. The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America are also liberal.
Q: In Ezek 11:1-4, what are the effects when leadership goes bad, in a church or government?
A: Initially, the leader can make some bad decisions, including squandering or pilfering money, instead of spending money where it is needed. Then, their example can spread to more and more members. Finally, the leader and members can all be both the doers of evil, and accepting evil.
Q: In Ezek 11:1-4, how do you differentiate when leadership is bad, versus just imperfect?
A: No leader on earth is sinlessly perfect. Everyone has blind spots in knowledge or character. But is the leader genuinely trying to obey God first, or is something else higher on their agenda? If a person is not drawing close to God, involved in besetting sin, or leads others astray, they should not be leaders.
Q: In Ezek 11:1-4, how are we to act, or react, when leadership goes bad, in a church or government?
A: Leadership is never perfect, and the first step is talking with them individually, to try to correct the problem. But if that essential first step is fruitless, then bring others to try. Finally make the problem public, and either have the bad leader leave, or you leave. Matthew 18:15-17 gives a process if someone is offensive. First talk with him privately, and if he listens to you then great. If no, then bring a one or two others with you and take with him. If he still does not listen, then make it public in the church.
Q: In Ezek 11:3;11, what was meant by the evil leaders saying the city is the pot, and they are the meat? (Jeremiah 39:1-5; 52:1-7; 42:1-12 might provide some hints.)
A: There are two possibilities.
Their goose was cooked: the walled city was like a boiling pot, and they were about to be boiled. They were the prize of the city, and they wanted to escape.
The future was so bright they had to wear sunglasses: The city was a prosperous delicacy of good food, and as they were the best part, at least in their own minds. Or else they thought they were best able to take advantage of it and get the more valuable part.
While both views cannot be true, in both views they were enriching themselves, and view other people as just a means.
Q: In Ezek 11:3,11-13; how can leaders today have similar attitudes?
A: There are two different bad attitudes possible here. Some leaders have both at the same time.
Superior because they are leaders: Leaders can think they have special privilege and compensation either because of what they perceive they do to help others or because they think they deserve it because they are better.
Leaders because they are superior: Leaders can be elitist, thinking the people exist for them, rather than they are there for the people. They valued themselves more than other people, and they should get the best part.
There is a slang expression "the world is my oyster". It means basically that the world, and all of its pearls, are mine for the taking. Some love people and use things. Others love things and use people. This is the opposite attitude of us being servants of God, for His glory, and not our own glory and happiness.
Q: In Ezek 11:13, should Ezekiel have lamented when Peletiah son of Benaiah died? Why do you think God killed him, and why not all of them?
A: Ezekiel was not saying what God ideally wanted, only what God justly did. Perhaps Ezekiel was sorrowful that this false prophet came to the end he did without repentance. This is similar to Jesus discussing when the Tower of Siloam fell in Luke 13:4.
God was giving a warning to all of them when God killed just Peletiah. God desired that all of them would not be destroyed, but that they would repent and live.
Q: In Ezek 11:13-25, in the midst of this severe prophesy, why would God prophesy this here? (Jeremiah 31:1-7 is for a similar reason.)
A: In the middle Ezekiel 11, God is still offering hope for the remnant. Jeremiah 31-32 also gives hope for a future, for the remnant. It was up to the children of the Israelites, whether they would go and be the remnant that returned, or remain where they were.
Q: In Ezek 11:19 and Ezek 36:26, how and when will God give them a new heart of flesh?
A: Flesh here means a living heart, as opposed to a dead heart of stone. Since Pentecost, the Holy Spirit enters into the heart of every believer.
As 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.184 observes, flesh does not always stand for sinfulness in the Bible.
Q: In Ezek 12:2, how do people not see and hear what they are able to?
A: Some people choose to ignore facts they don't agree with, and they knowingly and deliberately refuse to admit that they see what is right before their eyes. But often there is more to it than that. Cognitive dissonance is a term that describes either a conscious or unconscious heavy selective filtering out of what is perceived as just "noise" because it does not fit with their view of reality.
There was an interesting psychological study where there was a video where you are to count the number of times a basketball is dribbled. See this YouTube video by Daniel J. Simons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGQmdoK_ZfY. It is interesting to see what you miss by not looking for it.
Q: In Ezek 12:3, why would the people have to pack their bags? Why did God have Ezekiel pack his bags?
A: The people would hastily be forced to leave their homes against the will. They would literally be packing a few personal possessions, but they would be lean and only take a few things with them. They were given the blessings of the land by God, and they had no reason to keep that blessing, if they had decided not to obey God. After the Babylonian Captivity God specifically told them to submit to the Babylonian yoke, and they instead rebelled against that. Not only was that spiritually foolish, but in the natural world it was foolish too.
The Hebrew word here, qir, means a house wall, not a homah, or city wall. There probably was no city wall around Tel Abib. There was not a city wall handy, so for a metaphor Ezekiel made due with what was there.
Q: In Ezek 12:7-14, what is Ezekiel prophesying here?
A: Ezekiel is prophesying the exile of the southern kingdom of Judah. The Israelites of the northern kingdom were already exiled, the southern kingdom was not yet exiled, until in the middle of Ezekiel's ministry.
Q: In Ezek 12:12-13, what is the point of mentioning the prince among them?
A: Zedekiah was of royal blood, but he was a governor and later rebel, not a king. He was made governor by the Babylonians, and tried to be an independent nation again, contrary to what God commanded them by Jeremiah.
Q: In Ezek 12:13, how could the prince (Zedekiah) go to Babylon and yet not see it?
A: Jeremiah 39:4-7 explains that as they started the journey back to Babylon, they killed Zedekiah's children in front of him, and then put out his eyes.
Q: In Ezek 12:17-20, what is the difference between anxiety/trembling and despair?
A: Anxiety is worrying about something bad that is about to happen to harm you or ones you love. Despair is not due to doubt, but rather when you are certain of what is about to happen, and that you can never recover. The Jews reached a point there they had not worries, - only despair.
Anxiety is a fear of the bad things that might happen. Despair is the near-certain knowledge of impending doom or loss.
Q: In Ezek 12:21-23, how do some people follow that proverb today? Why?
A: The proverb, the days go by and every vision comes to nothing means that nothing prophetic will ever happen. It was used to give a false sense of comfort and assurance that prophecies against Jerusalem would come to naught.
Q: In Ezek 12:26, how is this a modified version of the previous proverb?
A: Because they though those things were far off, they did not think they needed to repent now. One pastor said that one of the saddest words he has heard is "tomorrow". Because when someone is asked to repent and come to Christ, they say not today but maybe tomorrow.
Q: In Ezek 12:26, some things in the Bible were in fact far off to them. So what was wrong with their attitude in saying that things were far off?
A: They felt they did not need to obey now, since any consequences were far off. They did not need to get right with God now, as they can always do it later. One oriental Christian delayed getting baptized until her mother passed away, since her mother would not approve. Alternately some people want to sin now, and so want to delay repentance until tomorrow.
Q: In Ezek 12:26, how do people delay getting right with God today? Why?
A: As one college student said, they wanted to be a Christian some day, but not right now because they were having too much fun. But if that is a problem, God can fix your problem.
Q: In Ezek 13:1-5, in Ezekiel's time there were false prophets as well as true; the same is true today. What are at least four examples of false prophets?
A: Here are four different types.
False Christian teachers within the church: They claim to be Christian but preach a different gospel. They can be inside a church or else start their own church. Like Jim Jones they can initially be in a church, and share at least part of the true gospel, but later start their own church and teach some very ungodly things.
Teachers of other religions: They are leading people to a different ultimate destination.
Atheists who with certainty say there is no God: They can have more faith that there is no God than some who claim to believe in God.
Non-religious people who presume to set up their own morality: the trouble is, unless a person has belief in some God, they have no basis for morality. If a person have no more intrinsic worth than a mosquito, then why would killing a person be worse than killing a mosquito. Is it because we are more intelligent; then do more intelligent people have a greater right to live than less intelligent people, like the Nazis believed?
Q: In Ezek 13:4-5, which kinds of false prophets are like jackals, and why?
A: When a wall has gaps, jackals may go through there, but it is for dens and hiding places to hunt prey, and not to build up the wall. Some not only refuse to help rebuild the ruins, but actually profit from the ruins. Others can be "moralistic therapeutic deists". They believe that Christianity, or religion in general, is ONLY to help you be more moral, help with your problems, for a God who does not do anything.
Q: In Ezek 13:4-6, what exactly were the prophets doing wrong?
A: They were doing two things wrong. They were not repairing the cracks and breaks in the spiritual life of the nations, and they were saying the Lord said things that the Lord did not say. Unfortunately, since that time, many other religious leaders have not addressed the cracks in their parishioners' spiritual armor, and they have added many things as a part of tradition that God did not say. Many people have the attitude that if a pope, church council, or their religious leaders said something then it must be from God, because God would not allow these leaders to say something seriously wrong. God allowed it back then, and God allows it today. God gives us a means to tell, His Bible, but if people blindly follow their traditions and do not check things out with the Bible, the responsibility for being led astray is their own and not God's.
Q: In Ezek 13:5 and Ezek 22:31, what does "standing in the gap" mean?
A: In battle, if the enemy made a hole in the city wall, defenders would stand in the gap. They would take the place of the wall and the defenders would not get in until the defenders retreated or were killed. Likewise in spiritual warfare, God looks for believers who will stand in the gap, to defend against Satan's snares to rescue people.
Q: In Ezek 13:5 (KJV), what does "daub" mean?
A: They did not "daub" the walls, means they did not use mortar to repair the walls.
Q: In Ezek 13:6-7, specifically which kind of false prophets is Ezekiel referring to?
A: There are at least two kinds of false prophets.
1) People of other religions, who do not claim to be Christian, or claim that Christianity, or having a personal relationship with Christ, is bad.
2) Those who claim to be believers, but they preach a different gospel. In this verse, it was both women and men who claimed to be prophets of the One True God.
Q: In Ezek 13:10,16 and Jer 6:14; 8:11, how do people say "peace, peace when there is no peace"?
A: There are at least four different ways.
a) It can be wishful thinking, hoping there will be peace if they wish it.
b) More commonly, it can be self-deception, ignoring evidence to the contrary, and not serious about how violent things are.
c) It can isolating, saying there is peace for me right now, and I don't care about the rest of the world.
d) Finally, it can be none of the above, and the only deception involved is a willful deception of others.
Q: In Ezek 13:10-15, 22:28; Mt 23:27, and Acts 23:3, how are false leaders like those who whitewash a wall? Are there ways we might unintentionally be whitewashing walls?
A: Leaders can be just whitewash when they either explicitly or implicitly legitimize or affirm that a sin is OK. Whitewash shows an exterior face that does not last. The walls look good on the outside, but the next time a rain comes the exterior color all comes off. Likewise, some leaders and organizations look good and clean on the outside, but the y only cover up a lot of unsightly problems on the inside.
Q: In Ezek 13:10-14, the Hebrew word for "whitewash" sounds similar to the word for "unsatisfying things". What are some things, though unsatisfying, are eagerly pursued?
A: Someone once defined insanity as getting the same results from doing the same things over and over, and expecting a different result next time, every time.
Ingested things, such as drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or eVapor are ultimately not satisfying.
Experiences, such as sex, thrills, or other things.
Material things, such as money expensive artwork, etc.
Power and control over others.
Q: In Ezek 13:18, how did these women hunt souls?
A: They searched for people to sell magic charms too. This might seem like a harmless occupation, but for every amulet they sold, the person buying it sinned against God.
Q: In Ezek 13:19, since God is in control, why are people murdered who should not have died, and some live who should not have lived?
A: This world is in a state of rebellion against God (1 John 5:19), and God has allowed this for a period of time. Many things happen here that are unjust, wicked, and break God's heart (Matthew 23:37; Luke 19:41; Jeremiah 4:19-22; 9:1) . However, judgment will come, when God will set everything right.
Q: In Ezek 13:22 (KJV), should it say "strengthen the hand of the wicked" or "encouraged the wicked"?
A: Jay P. Green's literal translation, as well as the King James version say "strengthen" which is the actual Hebrew word. The context though, was that the wicked would be "encouraged" to continue in their wickedness, as the NET, NIV, NASB, NKJV translate.
Q: In Ezek 13:22, how can a false prophet (male or female) dishearten the righteous with their lies?
A: They can say false things about the future. They can try to add "FUD", (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) to what is otherwise very clear.
A false prophet posing as a true teacher from God can make godly people question the right things to do. They can make people believe them instead of what God really said. But even more common, they can make people not certain of anything, even if the people are not sure they believe the false prophets. They can lead people to do evil, or to persecute Christians.
Q: In Ezek 13:23, since they were false prophets, were any of them really seeing visions or not?
A: They might have been making everything up, and not seeing anything at all. On the other hand, Satan might have sent some of the m lying visions and delusions.
Q: In Ezek 14:1-3 and Ezek 33:32, why would elders of Israel (in Kebar) sit down before Ezekiel when they had put up stumbling blocks?
A: There are two possible reasons, and both might be true for different leaders.
a) First, even if they did not really believe Ezekiel as a prophet, they knew many of the people did, and they wanted to look good in front of the people.
b) Second, maybe they did believe Ezekiel was a true prophet of God. But they wanted to follow the idols also. Some people want "fire insurance" by worshipping all of the gods. They were not against God, but some people today want to be "Christians and". That is, Christians and something else too.
Q: In Ezek 14:1-3, why would God sometimes be silent when people inquire of Him?
A: God loves to answer the prayers of His people, but God is not required to answer anyone who is not earnestly seeking to follow Him. It can also be an act of mercy when God does not answer, for the lost will be judged based on what they know, as Romans 4:15 and 5:13b indicate..
Q: In Ezek 14:1-4 and Jeremiah 42:2-22, when is it not good to seek God's counsel?
A: It is not good to seek God's counsel if you unwilling to follow it unless it is the answer you wanted. Romans 4:15 and 5:12 show that people are judged based on what they know. If you will not follow God unconditionally, then generally the less truth you know the better off it will be for you in the Judgment.
Q: In Ezek 14:3,7, what exactly is a stumbling block?
A: A stumbling block might be a rectangular block, but it could be an object of almost any shape that causes people to stumble, especially when they do not see it. It is especially a problem for the very old, very young, the sick, and the weak. A stumble, or fall, can be quite serious. Some people die from falls on stone or concrete. A stumbling block is not so dangerous if you see it, and remember where it is. It is also not dangerous if you are not planning to move.
Romans 14:13 warns Christians not to put stumbling blocks in front of other Christians.
Some time ago, I cam across a prime example of a stumbling block. This one weighted about 60 pounds; I'll tell you how I know a bit later. I was driving to lunch, after an ice storm a few days ago, and there was a block of concrete in the parking lot of the restaurant. It was not the part I was driving in, so I parked and went in. I could have removed the concrete from the parking lot, but I did not. After lunch, I came out to my car, and a car was parking the other way, so I went out a different way. I had forgotten about the block, and the under-carriage of my car scraped over the concrete block. I parked the car to examine it for damage, and then, moved the block to the grass, or other drivers would not have the same experience I had.
A very different kind of stumbling block is the fact that many people cannot get over that you have to come to Jesus. For them, Jesus, the chief cornerstone, has become a stumbling block in Romans 9:30-33 and 1 Peter 2:8.
Q: In Ezek 14:4-6, how would God answer in keeping with their idolatry?
A: God could answer according to their idolatry by not giving any guidance at all. However, often, including here, God does not do that, but answers the people based on what they need to know. Many times when we ask about something to God, He answers not necessarily the question we asked, but more importantly what we need to hear.
Q: In Ezek 14:5, how do people estrange God from themselves?
A: The nation of Israel estranged itself from God by refusing to stop worshipping their idols. Cherishing other sins can also bring the result that God chooses not to hear our prayers, according to Psalm 66:18.
Q: In Ezek 14:9, did God deceive the false prophets, and then destroy them for being false prophets?
A: God did not ever turn a good prophet into a bad one. Rather, God allowed bad prophets to be tempted to make prophecies, that in the end all would see were wrong.
In general, if some one wants to do evil, God "judicially hardens" them in the direction they want to go, as He did with Pharaoh. Jesus even told Judas, "what you are going to do, do quickly."
See When Critics Ask p.284 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 14:9-10, why is the one who went to a false prophet as guilty as the one who gave the false prophecy?
A: They knew he was a false prophet. They would have paid for their prophecy. They lent legitimacy to that.
Q: In Ezek 14:10, why are prophets especially singled out here?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
1. The prophets encouraged the people who came to them to continue in their sin.
2. Thus, the prophets receive the punishment for the sins of the people who trusted in their words and continued in sin.
3. Then and today, it is very serious for a religious leader to make people feel more comfortable in their sin.
Q: In Ezek 14:12-13, how does a "country" sin? Countries do not have a soul, and they do not go to Heaven or Hell.
A: The people of a country are usually one culture, in the sense that most people are persuaded to think and do what others in the country lead them to do. When influential individuals decide to be wicked, and most of the other people in the country decide, not necessarily to be wicked, but rather to follow the wicked example, then they are still sinning too.
Q: In Ezek 14:12-19 and Rev 6:8, how are famine, beasts, sword, and plague the most common ways of death?
A: Many people have died of famine. We don't even know the count of the number of famines in China, because there have been so many. We don't know how many people have died of famine, but it has been well over 100 million. Many people have died of "beasts", the most deadly of which has been the disease-carrying rat. As for diseases, in the twentieth century alone, despite its anti-malaria medicine, over 1 million people a year die of malaria. But the sword has killed as many as disease. The "sword" is a broader term than "war", because more people have been killed by their government "regicide" than by fighting between countries.
Q: In Ezek 14:14, why would these three people not be able to save anyone else? In Gen 18:10, God told Abraham God would not destroy Sodom if only ten righteous people were found in it.
A: There are two aspects to the answer: spiritual and natural.
Spiritually, those three individuals, as righteous as they were, could not save anyone except themselves. As one Christian said, "God has no grandchildren". Either you are a child or God, or you are not; you cannot cling to your parents' faith when you come before God. Either you know God, or you do not. You cannot get to heaven on the faith of others. Even ten righteous people in Sodom could not bring the rest of the Sodomites to heaven.
Naturally, God might destroy a country if everyone has turned away from Him. But God might spare a country if a significant number of people were righteous. We cannot say for sure that God would spare a city just for ten people, because God already knew there were not ten people. But God often spared the Israelites, both good and bad, when many had turned back to Him.
Q: In Ezek 14:14 and Ezek 28:3, who was Daniel/Danel here?
A: First what is not the answer and then the answer.
Not the answer: There was an Aramaean wise man known as Danel/Daniel. However, the spelling is different than Danel in the stories of Ugarit, and Danel was not particularly wise.
The answer: This was the Hebrew prophet Daniel, who was taken to Babylon as a youth. Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel, and his position, fame, and wisdom under the Babylonians would be well-known. The spelling is the same as in the book of Daniel except for a missing yod, which looks like an apostrophe.
Satan has been around a long time. He likely knows scripture better than the most knowledgeable human on earth, has been experienced in understanding and tempting people for a very, very long time. He can tell enough of the truth, and things people don't know, to get them to believe the deadly lies mixed in. I would never want to match wits with Satan, or listen and try to figure out truth from Satan. Fortunately we never need to. Simply follow God. Similar to a basketball or football team, as we obey God He, His angels, and His other servants on earth can run "interference" for us, as we score victories for His glory.
See also The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.881 for more on Danel.
Q: In Ezek 15:1-4, how is the wood of a wine not useful?
A: There is no strength in a vine' wood, so you cannot make anything useful out of it, not even a peg. It is twisted and not beautiful, so you cannot make nice furniture with it. The wood is not durable, so anything made out of it is not long-lasting. Some things and people can look to be useful and be talented, but in the end if they do not deliver anything useful. Proverbs 25:14 says that like clouds without rain are a man who boasts of gifts he does not give. If a person had "good character", but the character was not strong, nor particularly godly, nor persevering, what good would that character be?
Q: In Ezek 15:4 why is this wood worse than the regular wood from a vine?
A: Even worse, if wood from a vine is partially destroyed in the fire, then it is even less useful. Spiritually there are "fires" which can limit the future usefulness of things and people.
Q: In Ezek 16, what is the point of this chapter?
A: This allegory illustrates their abominations in the context of an ungrateful adopted daughter. A parent's feelings of being rejected in this situation are probably not as great as God's feelings about His people rejecting Him.
Q: In Ezek 16:3,45, why did God say their ancestry was from Amorites and Hittites?
A: The Israelites were closely related to the Amorites.
1. Even from the beginning, Isaac and Jacob married wives from modern-day Syria.
2. In addition, there was intermarriage with the other peoples, including the Gibeonites, who were Hittites. For example, Uriah, Bathsheba's previous husband, was a Hittite.
3. Finally, they intermarried with the Amorite Canaanites, which they were not supposed to do.
The reason God brought this up is in Ezekiel 16:44, where He mentions them prostituting themselves to the other nations.
Q: In Ezek 16:4-14, why is God bringing up this allegory?
A: They were in bad shape when the famine in Canaan hit and they went to Egypt. During the last years of Joseph's life, and for the next 400 years, they were slaves in Egypt. After God rescued them from all of that, they were still not loyal to God.
Q: In Ezek 16:5 (KJV), what is lothing?
A: This is the modern word "loathing".
Q: In Ezek 16:15-21, why did Jerusalem (which stands for the entire southern kingdom) engage in "spiritual prostitution" by worshipping other gods?
A: They do not want to obey God exclusively. They might be turned away completely, as the northern kingdom of Israel did, or they might still do the rituals and not the obedience as the southern kingdom of Judah did. Today as well as then, God regards those called by his name worshipping or reverencing other gods, a spiritual prostitution.
Q: In Ezek 16:15-21, why does a person, or a people, or a nation, turn away from God?
A: It can be for multiple reasons. Usually for a person there is only one main cause, but other reasons can support it, and other reasons can also cause them to stay away. For some causes can be wanting to commit or justify a particular sin, or some idol. For some it could be they think they know a better way. For others it might be disillusionment, or disappointment in what some Christian did. Some might do so out of fear, or for financial gain. Still others do not have any big reasons, but the cares of the world become paramount in their thinking.
Q: In Ezek 16:20-21, how did they sacrifice their children?
A: The Canaanites sacrificed their young children, by passing them through the fire, up to the age of two. Sadly, many Israelites adopted this wicked, ungodly practice.
Q: In Ezek 16:23-34, why was there a "phase II" of their wickedness?
A: Sin, left unchecked, grows. The wicked that a person or people might hesitantly try once, can then be done more frequently. Then it can become a habit. Then it loses its novelty and they look for a thrill to replace that with something greater.
Q: In Ezek 16:26-29, exactly how did the Jews prostitute themselves with the surrounding nations?
A: Starting with Solomon, kings of Judah and Israel married unbelieving wives. Even before Solomon, many Israelites were not true to God and worshipped idols. It is thought that the Transjordan tribes and Dan were among the first to completely abandon God.
Q: In Ezek 16:35-47, how was God's punishment fitting?
A: Since the people of Judah looked to these idols and nations for inspiration, enjoyment, and security, it was by means of these same nations that she would be punished and exiled. They would literally destroy her, with only a remnant returning.
Q: In Ezek 16:47, did Israel not walk in the ways of the surrounding nations, or did they multiply disobedience more than the nations around them as both Ezek 5:7 and (possibly) Ezek 16:47 say?
A: The first half of Ezekiel 16:47 says literally in the Hebrew, "Yet you have not walked in their ways"; the last half of Ezekiel 16:47 says they were even worse. Ezekiel 5:7 also says they were even worse.
In modern English it is like saying, "you were not like so-and-so, you were even worse".
Q: In Ezek 16:48-58, why was Jerusalem compared with Sodom?
A: Sodom was violent, impure, and wicked, and a person considering this would know it was wrong, but at least the Sodomites did not have God's word they were disobeying. Jerusalem was violent, impure, and wicked too, but they had more knowledge than the Sodomites, and thus more judgment (Romans 4:15; 5:13).
Q: In Ezek 16:49 was the sin of Sodom being selfish instead of homosexuality?
A: No. Only if you read verse 49 and close your eyes and stop reading before verse 50. Verse 50 says they did detestable things before God. It would be strange if some one argued that since they were arrogant and did not help others in addition to practicing homosexuality, that would somehow excuse their homosexuality. See When Cultists Ask p.85 and When Critics Ask p.285 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 16:55, when would Sodom return to her former state?
A: Since the city of Sodom was destroyed, along with every single inhabitant except Lot and his daughters, it cannot return to its former state until the people are resurrected. This will happen during the Millennium.
Q: In Ezek 17, what was the point of this allegory of the vine and two eagles?
A: To a people who were very familiar with farming, this allegory of vines, which they could see daily, would be remembered. A vine or tree that frequently changes its direction of growth does not grow straight or strong. Likewise people that frequently switch spiritual allegiance do not grow strong in the Lord, either. James 1:7-8 says that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive nothing from the Lord. Finally, a nation that frequently changes allegiance between two empires, should not expect either empire to count them as loyal or favor them.
Today, one can play off two companies against each other, or two people against each other. If you do so, realize that you are not fostering loyalty to either of them.
Q: In Ezek 17:7-10, are there bad consequence for a plant to spread out its branches to one side, and then spread the branches and root out to the opposite side?
A: The part of the plant above ground would have branches that go side to side, rather, than reaching towards the nourishment. In this parable, it will not grow so well, not be so firmly established, and be easy to root up.
Q: In Ezek 17:11-15, how does this relate to the kingdom of Judah?
A: This relates in two different ways.
Politically, after Judah was under Babylon it sought an alliance with Babylon's enemy, Egypt. In Judah there was a pro-Babylonian party and pro-Babylonian officials too. It was like trying to grow in one direction, and then changing directions.
Spiritually, they had a semblance of following God with the Temple, but while some wanted to follow God wholeheartedly, others did not.
Q: In Ezek 17:11-15, how does this relate to countries today?
A: When countries or companies give aid to their enemies, they not only dilute their cause, they can lose the loyalty, support, and zeal of those following what looks like hypocritical, self-serving leaders. For example, oil purchases by Syria or Turkey from ISIS, Americans criticizing a French company for doing business with Iran, while there was an embargo, and subsidiaries of American companies were doing the same thing. There is a fascinating der Spiegal article on ISIS and the "strange bedfellows" involved.
Q: In Ezek 17:11-19, why do you think God did not want Zedekiah to break his oath to Babylon?
A: There were at least three problems with breaking his oath.
Morally, Zedekiah was a traitor to break his oath.
Presently, events would soon show this was a grave mistake.
Most importantly, when God commanded them to submit to Babylon, they were disobeying God.
Q: In Ezek 17:1-24, what are the consequences of a person today being disloyal to their company or other people?
A: Hosea might know a lot about this through his wife Gomer. David greatly valued loyalty of this band of warriors. It was all the more worse when David indirectly executed Uriah, a soldier very loyal to him.
People can see their disloyalty and hypocrisy and not trust them. Not only would the victims of their disloyalty not trust them, but they would not be trusted even by those who knowingly benefited from their disloyalty. Even if a person repents of their disloyalty, others might not trust them for a long while.
Q: In Ezek 17:1-24, what are the consequences of a person today being disloyal to God?
A: There are at least three different types of consequences.
Closeness to God: Of course it is a sin against God. Even when you repent, there can still be consequences of the sin you have to live through. If they are believers, they will have to answer for that at the bema-seat judgment. Also, they can be robbed of the joy of the closeness of being in God's presence now.
Others: But your sin can be a bad testimony to others, that helps persuade non-believers not to come to Christ, and dishearten fellow believers.
Self: Your disloyalty can have other bad consequences for yourself. When you commit a sin, often you will have more of a weakness to commit the same sin again. Unless a person has thoroughly repented, when times get hard they can have a tendency to go back to that familiar sin.
Q: In Ezek 17:22-24, what good promise does God make to Israel here? Why does He phrase it this way?
A: God promises that there will be a plant with straight branches. But rather than trying to amend the previous plant, God will start over with a new shoot from the top of a cedar.
Q: In Ezek 17:23, what do you think is the significance of birds nesting in its branches? (See Mark 4:30-32)
A: This can mean that others can depend on Israel for security and protection. While birds represent evil demons in the parable of the sower, Jesus said God watches over the birds in Matthew 6:25-26 and Luke 12:6,24. Birds could nest in the branches of the mustard tree in Luke 13:19. It is interesting that Arab Muslims living in Israel live in a safer place than in countries like Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Q: In Ezek 17:24, what is the point of the trees?
A: God is comparing peoples, who thrive, branch off, and are destroyed, to trees. This analogy is unusual in that it emphasizes that "Israel will not return from captivity" but only a "shoot of Israel will return".
Q: Does Ezek 18 indicate that God judges people by their behavior, instead of by faith and not works?
A: No, because it is the "righteous" man who does the good things, and the "wicked" man or "violent" son who does the evil things. A person who is forgiven and declared righteous by God does righteous things; it is not that doing righteous things merits a person being a righteous man. See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.185-186 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 18, how come God does not punish children for their father's sins, since Ex 20:5-6, Dt 5:8, and Jer 32:18 imply the opposite?
A: Here are some verses showing consequences of sin. The quotes are taken from the NIV.
Exodus 20:6; Deuteronomy 5:8 "...punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation..."
Exodus 34:7 "...he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."
Isaiah 14:21a "Prepare a place to slaughter his sons for the sins of their forefathers;"
Jeremiah 32:18 bring punishment for fathers' sins into the laps of their children ... you reward everyone according to his conduct and as his deeds deserve.
Lamentations 5:7 "Our fathers sinned and are no more, and we bear their punishment."
Matthew 27:25 Jews (not God) said, His blood be on us and on our kids.
In Numbers 14:20-25, the children wandered for 40 years too.
Verses that show specific curses of descendants while on earth are: Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:14-19); Cain (Genesis 9:25); (illegitimate children, Ammonites, Moabites, (Deuteronomy 23:2-3,8); Eli's sons (1 Samuel 2:31-33); Gehazi (2 Kings 5:27); Jeconiah (Jeremiah 22:28-30).
People do sometimes suffer temporal consequences for their father's sins. However, these verses are as silent about our guilt in Adam as they are about guilt in our father.
1. Children have no guilt for their forebearer's (=parents + ancestors) sins, they do not suffer eternal death, and God does not physically kill them for their forebearer's sins (Ezekiel 18).
2. However, children can suffer general consequences, in this life, even God allowing them to physically die, for their forebearer's sins (Exodus 20:6; Jeremiah 32:18; Lamentations 5:7). God can remove his protection from children of a sinful parent, and others kill them (Isaiah 14:21a).
3. Moreover, there can be specific generational curses due to a forebearer's sin (Genesis 3:14-19; Genesis 9:25; Numbers 14:20-25; Deuteronomy 23:2-3,8; 1 Samuel 2:31-33; 2 Kings 5:27; Jeremiah 22:28-30).
4. Furthermore, when children choose to walk in their parent's sin, then they do in fact share in the guilt of their forebearer's sins because they are doing it too (Matthew 23:29-32; 27:25).
5. When someone repents or chooses to trust in God, God can remove a curse they are under, or else turn it into a blessing (Jonah 3:10; Joshua 9).
See When Critics Ask p.285-286 and Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions p.221-222 for more on the distinction between consequences and guilt.
Q: In Isa 14:21, why do children die for the sins of the fathers, since Ezek 18:2,19-20 says they should not?
A: Four points to consider in the answer.
1. It did not say the children had the guilt of their fathers. But if they participated in the same sins, they would have the same guilt.
2. God was not slaughtering them. In this life, evil people often kill other evil people and their children.
3. Ezekiel 18 refers to God not killing a son because of the guilt of his father's sin.
4. Many times in this life people are killed unjustly because of others' sinful actions, as Ezekiel 13:29 shows.
Q: In Ezek 18, what can we learn about people?
A: Here are ten things we can learn.
1. Some have strange views of God's justice and teach wrong. Ezekiel 18:2
2. All souls belong to God and are judged by Him. Ezekiel 18:4
3. Do not be confident because of father's righteousness. Ezekiel 18:13
4. Do not despair because of father's wickedness. Ezekiel 18:17
5. Do not trust in your past righteousness. Ezekiel 33:12
6. If you have been wicked yourself, do not despair. God is pleased when you turn from your wickedness. Ezekiel 18:23,32; 33:12,14-16
7. Some can dishearten the righteous with lies, when God had brought them no grief. Ezekiel 18:22
8. Some can encourage/strengthen the wicked in their desire not to turn from their evil ways and save their lives. Ezekiel 18:22
9. God judges each according to his own way [life]. Ezekiel 18:30; 33:20
10. Some accuse God of injustice for at least five reasons.
10.1 Undeserved bad things is allowed by God in this life. Job 27:2;34: 5,17;40:8
10.2 The wicked sometimes receive good things. Psalm 73
10.3 God does not fully punish the wicked yet. Malachi 2:17; Habakkuk 1:2-4
10.4 The more wicked sometimes conquer the less wicked. Habakkuk 1:13
10.5 God forgives the sins of those who repent, and forgets the good things of those who turn to sin. Ezekiel 18:25,29; Ezekiel 33:17-20
Q: In Ezek 18, what is the error known as "realism"?
A: This error combines the following
1. A true assumption that fathers do not pass on guilt
2. A false assumption that we are guilty for Adam's sin.
3. Based on these assumptions, a false conclusion is that this proves the pre-existence of our souls in the Garden of Eden.
For more info on realism and why it is wrong, see Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul p.85-86.
Q: In Ezek 18, is Ezekiel talking about individual guilt, collective guilt of a nation, or both.
A: Both individual and collective guilt.
1. National guilt implied by "land of Israel" and plural terms (Ezekiel 18:1,2,25,29,30,31).
2. Individual guilt is implied by lack of plurals (Ezekiel 18:4-24,26,28).
3. Both, because he uses the true example of individuals to apply both individually and collectively.
Q: In Ezek 18:2, was Ezekiel saying this proverb?
A: No. The Hebrew pronoun here is you plural, not singular.
Q: In Ezek 18:2, what exactly is wrong with the proverb?
A: All of the following:
God does not like it. Ezekiel 18:2
We have no occasion to truthfully use it. Ezekiel 18:3
Implies that some souls do not directly belong to God. Ezekiel 18:4
Implies that a soul other than the one that sins dies. Ezekiel 18:4
Implies that an evil/good son is partially judged according to the goodness/evil of his father. Ezekiel 18:5-13 / 18:14-18
Implies God takes pleasure in the death of the wicked. Ezekiel 18:23,32
Implies punishing a son for father's sins is just. Ezekiel 18:25
Implies God is not just unless He imputes the father's guilt. Ezekiel 18:25
Implies God does not judge each person according to His own actions. Ezekiel 18:30
Implies repentance would not matter, because they would be judged for their father's sin anyway. Ezekiel 18:30-31
Q: In Ezek 18:4, since a soul dies, does that mean there is no Heaven or Hell?
A: Of course not. The Hebrew word nephesh, translated soul, can mean life as well as soul. Here it means life, while in Genesis 35:18 and other verses it means "soul".
See When Cultists Ask p.85-86 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 18:4, what is the meaning of the word "die" here?
A: They died in not just one but three ways. They died spiritually on that day, and started the clock ticking on their physical death. They were also guilty and deserving of the second, eternal death, of which by comparison, physical death is a small matter.
Q: In Ezek 18:6, what is wrong with eating at mountain shrines?
A: Worship of Canaanite gods was on mountain shrines.
Q: In Ezek 18:7, how do people oppress others?
A: This can occur through three branches of government.
Lawmakers can sin through legislation. Unjust laws were passed against black slaves in America, Japanese American in World War II, and some against Christians today.
Courts can enforce evil precedents. For example, in 1857, there was a court case involving a free black U.S. citizen who owned land. The court ruled against him because it followed the previous court precedents.
The executive leader can make unjust executive decisions. For example, when U.S. President Andrew Jackson decided that the Cherokee and other Indians would be forcibly removed to Oklahoma after they had supported Great Britain in the War of 1812, the Supreme Court overruled him, saying it was unconstitutional. Jackson asked what army they had, and Andrew Jackson did it anyway.
Q: In Ezek 18:13, how would you define exactly usury and excessive interest?
A: Many people thing it is right to maximize profit at the expense of others, as far as is legally possible. Ezekiel 18:13 indicates otherwise. The Old Testament says they were not to charge interest to a fellow Israelite. Just because something is legal does not mean it is right or moral. After New Testament times, the Christian work Instructions of Commodianus (c.240 A.D.) ch.65 p.216 mentions the evil of usury at 24%.
Q: In Ezek 18:15b, Ezekiel is obviously talking about committing adultery. But why use the term "defile his neighbor's wife"?
A: Imagine how the husband will view the wife when he finds out; imagine how rocky their relationship would be. Under the Old Testament Law (which was not often followed then) she could be stoned to death. If she was seduced to dishonor, going against what she knew was right, she would be defiled in god's eyes.
Q: In Ezek 18:20, in this age of grace, is the righteousness of a righteous man credited to him today?
A: In Old Testament times God said that a person's righteous standing could be lost by turning to wickedness in Ezekiel 18:24b. In New Testament times, though Cornelius the centurion in Acts 10:4 was neither a Jew nor Christian at that time, he respect Judaism and helped the poor. His alms came up before God, and God blessed him by giving him a special opportunity to hear the gospel.
Q: In Ezek 18:23,32, Ezek 33:12-20, and 2 Pet 3:9, does God not desire the death of the wicked, or does God mock at a sinner's disaster as Prov 1:26 and Ps 2:4 show?
A: God has both love and wrath. God would rather a person repent and come to God than perish in Hell. However, for those who refuse to repent, God has great wrath toward them.
When Critics Ask p.286 points out that God scoffs when the unwise learn the foolishness of not relying on God's wisdom. This kind of "laughing" carries no hint of rejoicing, though.
Q: In Ezek 18:25 and Rom 9:10-15, what is the difference between being just and being equitable?
A: Being just is doing what you promised to do. Being equitable is treating everyone the same way. God equitably punishes all sin, but does not treat all sinners the same. For those who come to Him in repentance have their sins forgiven, and the punishment paid by Jesus dying on the cross.
Q: In Ezek 18:29 (KJV), are these words "equal" and "unequal" or should they be "just" and "unjust"?
A: The Hebrew word, takan, is a generic word that can mean balance, level, or equalize. Jay P. Green's Literal Translation is "fair".
There is a difference, as one does not have to be equal to be just. I should not treat other women with "equal" familiarity as I do my wife, but I can still treat all women and men fairly.
Q: In Ezek 18:30, why will God judge people according to their ways, and not according to God's ways?
A: This can mean that God will judge people according to what they did. But it is more likely that it means God will judge them according to their own conscience. God overlooked some past idolatry due to ignorance in Acts 17:30. God's standard is independent of us; however, God graciously makes allowance for people who sin in innocent ignorance, as Romans 4:15 and 5:13 show. They might have a false view of what God says is righteous. But they have even fallen short of their own, lesser standards of what they correctly se what is right.
Q: In Ezek 18:31, if we can only be righteous by God's grace working in us, why does it say "Rid yourselves of all the offences"?
A: God is working in us, and that means work is being done right now to make us live more righteous. It is not God working and us doing nothing, but God and us working. In other words, with God's power, we have responsibility to live a more holy life now.
God fully expects us to get to work on an "inward work" of ridding ourselves of sin. We cannot complete it and become sinless in this life; in fact, we cannot even do any of it on our own in this life. But if we are genuine believer's we have God's power working in us by His Spirit, and we can make progress in accomplishing this work. Philippians 2:12-13 also illustrates both aspects of God working and us working.
Q: In Ezek 19, how can we use the idea of reminiscing on the past in witnessing and in our own life?
A: On a personal level, it is good for a person to remember, and be grateful for, the kindness done to him by others. It is good to examine your life, and learn from both your successes and your mistakes. In 2 Corinthians 13:5 it says to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says to test everything. If you can also learn from the successes and mistakes of others that is even better. While it is not good to dwell on past sin, it is good to regret past sin.
As a nation, it is good to learn from our past. For example, as someone said in the 1980's, but was not taken too seriously, if you take prayer out of schools you have to bring the metal detectors in.
Q: In Ezek 19, what is the meaning of the allegory of the lioness and her cubs?
A: Christians have three interpretations.
Collective: The use of the word "Israel" meant the united kingdom, and the lion cubs were Israel and Judah.
Literal Individual: Perhaps Israel had already fallen by this time, and these cubs refer to individual kings of Judah, Jehoahaz being the first king, reigning only three months. The mother of both Jehoahaz and Zedekiah was Hamutual, a wife of Josiah (2 Kings 23:31; 24:18).
Non-literal Individual: However, Jehoiachin's mother was Nehushta (2 Kings 24:8), and this likely refers to Jehoiachin, based on Ezekiel 19:5-9. Ezekiel is not referring to biological motherhood, because the "mother" is the nation according to Ezekiel 19:10-14. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1262 mentions other views, but advocates this view.
In Ezekiel 19:3, tearing prey and devouring men can refer to the disaster brought by Jehoiachin. Jehoiachin did evil in the sight of the Lord according to 2 Kings 23:31..
Q: In Ezek 19, when you are under temptation, why is it good to think about your past, and about your future?
A: Some people don't think about their past; they don't know who they are; they don't have much sense of identity, where they were in their past, and how they got in their state of bondage. They don't think about their identity with God, of their future. It might be that they don't identify themselves 20 or 30 years from now as themselves.
Think about who you really are, and your past journey with God. Think about the possible consequences of your sin, both to yourself and others, and to your relationship with God.
They might only think about their emotions, or their sin, and not have to think about future consequence.
Why don't more people have money saved up for retirement? A study was one of young people about their thoughts when they would be retired, and they almost thought of their future self as a totally different person.
Q: In Ezek 19, how can we use the idea of lamenting for the future in our witnessing?
A: A bit of worldly advice is that whatever you did, live with no regrets. This is unbiblical. Ezekiel 19 is an entire chapter of regret for what they did, and what could have been. Lamentations is an entire book of regret. Paul the apostle in 1 Timothy 1:13-15 shows regret for what he did prior to coming to Christ. But though we have regret, God has given a promise. In the book of Joel God sent the locust to punish His disobedient people. Yet in Joel 2:25a God says He will restore the years the locusts have eaten.
Q: In Ezek 19, what is the proper role of mourning in the life of a Christ who is to be always rejoicing (Php 3:1; 1 Thess 5:16)?
A: Paul and other believers mourned in 1 Corinthians 5:2; 2 Corinthians 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 7:8-9, 2 Corinthians 11:28-29. There is a time to mourn for our own sins, the sins of others, and the great loss of those who reject Christ.
Q: In Ezek 19:4, what is a "cage" here?
A: There are four views.
1. It might be an actual cage here.
2. This could be a pit, which is how the NET and NIV translate this.
3. Perhaps the word for cage "sugar", was from the Assyrian word sigaru, which means not cage, but neck-yoke. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1262 mentions this view.
4. It could be a play on words between 1 and 3, as The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol. 6 p.831 says.
Q: In Ezek 19:9 (KJV), what does "put in ward" mean?
A: This means to imprison or put in jail.
Q: In Ezek 19:10, do you think it should be "in your blood" like most Hebrew manuscripts, or "in your vineyard" like two Hebrew manuscripts?
A: "In your vineyard" does not make much sense here.
Q: In Ezek 19:10-14, how is this part of the lament slightly different than the previous part?
A: The previous part was about the princes (lions) who were taken away and imprisoned. This part is a lament about Judah herself, and how she was like a strong vine, that was plucked up and burned. It is amazing that God would do this to His own because of their disobedience.
Q: In Ezek 20:1-5, on one hand the people wanted to return to God and listen to Ezekiel, but on the other hand the people did not want to give up having idols too. They were not in a "totally rebellious state", but they were not being obedient to God either? How can people be like this today?
A: Some might want just to cover all the bases. Some think of Christianity as no more than "fire insurance." Others might genuinely want to follow God, but they genuinely want to also follow something else too. People want the long-term goal of eternal life with God, but they also want the short-term pleasure, excitement, mystery, or security of something else too. God speaks of this attitude of sin as spiritual adultery.
A person can believe God, but not be a believer. A lost person can believe many true things about God, but never have trusted over their life to Him.
Q: In Ezek 20:4-5, how does God view this in-between state?
A: This sounds a little bit like the Laodicean church in Revelation 3. In human terms we could understand this with people like a girl with multiple boyfriends on the side. Maybe one boyfriend did not know about the others or maybe he did. Image a girl telling her boyfriend, "I really love you ... on Tuesdays."
Q: In Ezek 20:8, what would be the allure of the idols of Egypt?
A: People would find it interesting to worship animal and half-animal gods. It can look eerie, having these half-animal gods, and spectacular-looking, as long as they don't ever ask the question, "How do you know this is true." Of course some might answer that question, "people worshipped these idols for over 1,500 years, so they must be true because it is tradition." But we can learn that tradition is of itself not a guide as to what is true. Also worshipping the Egyptian idols would make them pleasing to the Egyptians so they could have a military alliance.
Q: In Ezekiel 20:9,14,39,44 God emphasizes "for the sake of My Name". Why do you think that is important?
A: This is a synonym for God doing things for His glory. Ultimately God created us for His glory, and when God's people stopped glorifying Him, they stopped living the land.
Q: In Ezek 20:11,13,21, was the law good for people, or not?
A: God's Law was good but it had both bad and good consequences.
Instructionally, It was good to communicate to them on what pleased God. Obeying its precepts also was a way God gave us to please Him.
In theory, it was good to tell some one how to get to Heaven by living without any sin. However, nobody was sinless and got to Heaven this way.
In reality, the law was a taskmaster, showing mankind how far we are from God's standards. Furthermore, the more people knew, the more accountable they would be, bringing more bad consequences. Now what would people do with this information, that shone the light of truth upon their dark and ugly spiritual state?
Ultimately, the law served to drive people into the arms of God's mercy. It made sense of the ceremonial aspects of God's law, why we needed all those sacrifices, and why there was such a separation between fallen man and God's Holiness.
Finally, the Law gave us a glimmer for hope. If there were a way to at least temporarily cover our sins through sacrifice, then God cared for us, and God might provide a more permanent solution ... which He did in Jesus Christ.
See When Critics Ask p.286-287 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 20:12,16, 20, 21 why did God give the Sabbath?
A: God gave the Sabbath as a sign between Himself and His covenant people, the Jews (Exodus 31:12-13; Ezekiel 20:12, 20).
God's Word, laws, and decrees were only revealed to Israel, no one else (Psalm 147:19-20).
Ten Commandments were made with the Israelites under Moses, not their fathers (Deuteronomy 5:3).
The Law and Old Covenant were only for the Israelites (Romans 9:4). Abraham and others did not have the Sabbath.
Made known to the Israelites God's laws and Sabbaths (Nehemiah 9:13-14).
The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).
Q: In Ezek 20:15, how was Canaan the glory of all lands?
A: While it is true that Canaan could support a larger population than lands east of the Jordan River, that is not the point. Any land that God chose for you and especially gave you would surely be the glory of all the lands to you. Even more, the land of Canaan, once a land cursed with idolatry and infant sacrifice, became the land of God's chosen people, the Jews, and the location of the ultimate blessing for all peoples of the earth.
Q: In Ezek 20:15, why in general do people forget or fail to show gratitude for good things done to them?
A: People selfishly often do not see benefit in being grateful for the good things that have already happened. In business, the attitude is not "what have you done for me", but "what have you done for me today", because the past good things that they did are no longer in view. People naturally tend to take things for granted, when God calls us to live a life of gratitude.
Q: In Ezek 20:22, why did God withdraw His hand, that it not be polluted in the sight of the nations?
A: Exodus 32:11-14 gives the complete explanation of this. After God rescued the people from slavery in Egypt, if He had destroyed them suddenly in the wilderness, then others could say that God saved them only to destroy them. Ezekiel 20:22 is briefly referring to this, which most Jews would know.
Q: In Ezek 20:25, were some of God's laws not good for the people?
A: The people here rejected God's laws, which were for them (Ezekiel 20:19-21). Therefore, God allowed their rulers make laws that were unjust and not good for them. People can always complain about their political leaders, but many times people get the leaders and laws they deserve. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.314-315 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 20:29, what does "Bamah" mean?
A: Bamah might have been an actual location. On the other hand, the word "Bamah" meant high place, so it might have been a generic description of Canaanite shrines. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1265 says that this is actually a word play. "What is the high place" is mah habamah, and "you go to" is haba'im.
Q: In Ezek 20:46,47, why was Ezekiel to prophesy toward the south?
A: Ezekiel prophesied against both Israel and Judah. Here though, Ezekiel specifically was to face Jerusalem and the southern kingdom of Judah, because this prophecy was explicitly for them and not the northern kingdom.
Today when people have neighbors more ungodly than they, it is easy to think that God must be pleased with them, simply because they appear more righteous by comparison. Remember though that both Israel and Judah were punished, though Judah's punishment came later and was not quite as devastating.
Q: In Ezek 20:48, how did all flesh see that God kindled this fire?
A: Perhaps Ezekiel's prophecy itself is part of the answer. Without the prophets, one might think that Israel and Judah were destroyed because God abandoned or forgot about His people. However, the many warnings God gave through the prophets show that the destruction was not permitted by God's inattention, but rather, it was caused by God remembering them and their disobedience.
Q: In Ezek 21:4, why do both the righteous and wicked receive judgment?
A: Two points that are not a part of the answer, and then the answer.
1. While the righteous are judged for rewards in Heaven, and the wicked receive different degrees of punishment, that is not what this verse is saying.
2. The Septuagint translated this as "unrighteous and wicked", but it is believed the Masoretic text has the best text here.
The Answer: Judgment here is the consequences of the nation's sin. Ezekiel 21:3-4 says that both righteous and wicked people living in Israel at this time would be cut off, that is, killed and/or exiled, by the invading army. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.315-316, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1267, and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.186 for more info.
How could both the righteous and wicked receive judgment, if Ezekiel 18 says the wicked will not die for the righteous? Throughout the Bible, the righteous do not receive guilt of the wicked. However, from the time of Abel onward, the righteous have suffered consequences on account of the wickedness of others. See the discussion of Ezekiel 18 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 21:4, what is the significance of "from south to north"?
A: From south to north shows that the judgment would start in the south, in Judah. The word "south" in Hebrew is Negev, which is also the name of the southern part of Judah. See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1053 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p;1267 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 21:10, what is the rod here?
A: Jay P. Green's literal translation shows this Hebrew word is "rod", not "scepter", and that is how the KJV and NRSV translate it. There are two views of the meaning
Scepter of a king: The NKJV, NIV, and NET paraphrase this as scepter. Since God had promised the line of David would endure forever, they might have thought that the kings would never be defeated. The Believer's Bible Commentary p.1053 also holds to this interpretation.
Rod of discipline: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament 1267 says that "scepter" is an interpretation that seems foreign to the passage. Rod of discipline (Proverbs 10:13; 13:24; 23:13; 2 Samuel 7:14; Job 9:34; Job 21:9) is what is meant here.
Of course both could be combined.
Q: In Ezek 22:2; 24:9, which city of blood is this prophecy directed against?
A: This is Jerusalem.
Q: In Ezek 22:9, how do some carry tales to shed blood?
A: This refers to false accusations and other means of telling false stories that get people killed.
Q: In Ezek 22:9, what was wrong with eating on the mountains?
A: The Canaanite shrines were usually on mountains and hills, and "eating on the mountains" would usually be for the purpose of participating in a Canaanite religious feast.
Q: In Ezek 22:18,19 (KJV), what is dross?
A: This is the waste material left after refining silver or gold. Dross still has very small amounts of good silver and gold in it. However, one cannot extract it profitably, and so the small value left in the dross is not enough to do any good.
Q: In Ezek 22:25,27, how did the prophets devour souls?
A: For money and for the sake of their own position, these prophets pretended to care for the people's spiritual needs and guard them from error. In reality, they simply told the people what they wanted to hear.
In Christianity, if the teaching is nothing else but what people want to hear, then the leaders should take care they are not following in the footsteps of these prophets that devoured souls.
Q: In Ezek 22:30-31, what does it means to stand in the gap, and why would some one standing in the gap avert God's wrath?
A: This analogy was a double meaning.
Physically, if they had enough soldiers, they could try to fight off an invading army, in this case, the Babylonians.
Spiritually, if there were enough godly people to teach God's word, refute error, and encourage people to return to God, then they would avert God's punishment, in this case the Babylonian army.
See the discussion on Ezekiel 13:5 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 22:30-31, how can we stand in the gap today?
A: When people say that something is right, and we know that it is not pleasing to God, we must stand up and say so. Even when some Christians say something is right, and we know it is wrong, we must stand up. When Satan wishes to deceive people with sin or heresies, either non-believers or believers, we need to speak up and try to guard those people against that.
Q: In Ezek 23, what is the meaning of the allegory of the two immoral daughters?
A: This graphic allegory shows the depth of God's disgust with both Israel and Judah.
Q: In Ezek 23, this graphic allegory shows the depth of God turning away from them in disgust with both Israel and Judah showing such contempt for Him. Why do you think worshipping idols is compared to prostitution?
A: For God's people to do that was not only disgusting to God, it was offensive, that His own people, called by His name, would this. In the New Testament spiritually we are the bride of Christ. In the Old Testament God says metaphorically that He was a husband to Israel. But when they worshipped idols too, God shows disgust that they were unfaithful, breaking their covenant with God.
Q: In Ezek 23:3, why was Egypt is mentioned?
A: It is likely not because the Israelites sojourned in Egypt for 430 years; there was nothing wrong, and they were not to blame for doing that. Rather, they were attracted to the Egyptian gods, which were a snare to them even at this time, almost 900 years later.
Q: In Ezek 23:3, 1 Cor 10:5-13, why do some people, after they sin, repent and "get over it", and never do that sin again, while other people, after they sin, and even try to repent, never "get over it"?
A: Some people who do not get over a sin feel they have their identity wrapped up in that sin. Others often remember the pleasure, (Ezekiel 23:19), even longing for the sin (Ezekiel 23:21), and forgetting the pain of the guilt and shame of choosing to be defiled.
God gives them a "promise", that they will not look on these things or long for them anymore (Ezekiel 23:27). God promises them that their punishment will be severe enough that they won't long for that sin anymore.
Some people feel their identity is tied to a sin. Some fondly remember the pleasure of it. Others remember the benefit. See the page "Our Loss in Christ" https://www.biblequery.org/Experience/Loss/OurLossInChrist.html for more on getting through with sin.
Q: In Ezek 23:3-4, what do Oholah/Aholah and Oholibah/Aholibah mean?
A: Oholah means "she has her own tent" or "her tent", which is something a prostitute would have. Oholibah means "my tent is in her". This was appropriate because God's temple was in Jerusalem in Judah. The northern kingdom of Israel had their own "tent" with their religion of golden calves.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1055-1056 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1271 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 23:9-10,22, what are some other ways God sometimes punishes people for a sin by means of that sin?
A: One way is what in parenting is called "logical consequences". Sometimes a punishment for the sin is being in a state of repeating that sin over and over. The people worshipped idols. Later, an Assyrian obelisk monument was found showing Jehu and his servants bowing to the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III as they gave him tribute. Menahem later paid tribute to Tiglath-Pileser III in the 700's. Hoshea the last king of Israel, did also, though in the end it did not do him any good. Paying tribute would include the king delivering the tribute and worshipping the Assyrian idols. Those who worshipped the Assyrian idols ended up being punished by the Assyrians, or else the conquering Babylonians.
Q: In Ezek 23:11, it is said how can some people learn from the successes and failures of others, and other people cannot. How good are you at learning from the mistakes of others?
A: It is said that experience is the best teacher, but the most expensive. Some people do not even learn from their own mistakes. But how much wiser is it also to be able to learn from the mistakes of others. So how wise do you want to be? If you are serious about being wise, how often have you paid attention to what the Bible says about getting wisdom in James 1, and Proverbs, and Psalm 139?
Q: In Ezek 23:14 (KJV), what is vermilion?
A: This is a bright red or scarlet color.
Q: In Ezek 23:16,40, when did Judah send messengers to the Chaldeans? Why was this so bad? How does this relate to the Lord testing Hezekiah's heart in 2 Chronicles 32:30-31?
A: The otherwise godly king Hezekiah did this in 2 Kings 20:12-19; Isaiah 39:1-8; and 2 Chronicles 32:30-31. Also, the godly king Josiah was killed trying to help the Babylonians by fighting Egypt in 2 Kings 23:29-30.
Q: In Ezek 23:18, why would God turn away in disgust from a people who have a relationship with Him?
A: The Hebrew phrase here, translated literally, is "my soul was torn away from her" according to The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.6 p.856. We might call that "heart-wrenching" today. It is painful for a husband or wife to initiate divorce proceedings against an unfaithful spouse. It is saying you will not love them as a spouse anymore.
Q: In Ezek 23:31-34, what is the cup here?
A: This symbol of God's wrath, also mentioned in Jeremiah and Revelation, is interesting. It is something that people ingest, give others to drink, and sometimes are forced to drink. It is often compared to blood and wine, and it can make people insane. Various places a cup is mentioned are Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:17-23; Jeremiah 25:15-19; 51:7; Habakkuk 2:16; and Revelation 17:3-4; 18:6. Prior to Psalms, Canaanites also used the metaphor of a cup according to The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.6 p.856. A cup could be one's portion in life, as in Proverbs 16:5.
Q: In Ezek 23:36 Ezekiel was commanded to judge and confront. When should we judge and confront?
A: We are not to judge the worth of people, or how good they are. But we are to judge things, including righteous and sinful actions, and are to discern. Just as we should encourage, comfort, and correct because of obedience to God and love for others, we should confront for the same reasons. We should be careful that it is not out of pride, or because of any thought of feeling superior.
We should not judge or confront because of our own capricious judgment, but because of what scripture says. Paul was surprised the Corinthian church did not kick someone out of the church. The church at Thyatira was not actually rebuked because of the immorality of Jezebel; actually they were rebuked for their toleration of that actively immoral woman in their church.
We confront to help both the person we are confronting and others who are listening (or reading). We need to show them why the path they are on is wrong or destructive, what the better path is, and why it is important and urgent that they change now.
Q: In Ezek 23:37, their children were as food for their idols, since they sacrificed their children. How are children today metaphorically "food" for people's sin?
A: They are food in at least two different ways.
By abortion, children are sacrificed for the desire of the mother. It has come out that organs of aborted babies are harvested for research. In one case, an aborted baby still had a beating heart after coming out. the abortion providers harvested the brain anyway.
By corruption, children are taught to perpetuate the sins of their teachers. Today they are taught in many schools that homosexuality is a moral, alternative lifestyle, sex before marriage is fine, and if it is legal then it is OK.
Q: In Ezek 23:38-39, they would sacrifice their children worshipping idols, and on the same day some to God's temple. What are some ways people try to exploit God today?
A: The idea that God is not pleased with their life apparently did not occur to them. The idea that they were simply wasting their time going to God's temple, because He would not accept their sacrifices, did not occur to them. Finally, the idea what with more knowledge comes more accountability, and greater judgment for the disobedient, apparently did not occur to them either. Perhaps they thought they could "cover their bases" with worshipping different gods. Perhaps they thought that God would be pleased with whatever little portion they decided to give Him. But even though Cain's sacrifice cost him fruits and vegetables, God did not accept Cain's sacrifice. Since then, God does not accept the sacrifices of evildoers either.
Q: In Ezek 24:1-12, what is the difference between the first allegory in 24:1-5 and the second in 24:6-12?
A: In the first picture the people are boiling inside the pot of Jerusalem. In the second picture Jerusalem itself is encrusted with sin.
Q: In Ezek 24:1-5, in the first picture, how do people "boil" because of sin?
A: When meat is boiled, it is "done". Some of the strength and toughness of the muscle fibers are gone, and it is easier to be consumed and eaten up. Likewise when people are "boiled" in sin, then their strength and toughness against wickedness is gone, and they are easier to be consumed by Satan. But praise God that even when someone has been "boiled" in sin, God can regenerate!
Q: In Ezek 24:6-12, in the second picture, what are at least six ways that sin "encrusts" or "rusts"?
A: There might be more than six, but here are six ways.
1. Committing a sin can make a person more vulnerable to falling in the same way in the future.
2. Just as an encrusted pot takes longer to heat up, can never be fully cleaned, and if encrusted on the inside holds less, sin can make us slower to follow good, keep us from having a clean life, and hold less of what God wants to give us.
3. Committing a sin long enough can deaden a person's conscience, where they do not feel any guilt when the commit that sin.
4. Committing a sin even more can further darken a person's mind where they do not see that it is wrong.
5. Committing that sin, where others see it, sets an example to others that the sin is OK, or else not so bad, and it is OK for them to do it too.
6. Before God they are building up more and more guilt.
However, the good news is that no matter how much someone is encrusted, if they repent and turn their life over to Christ, He can make them shiny and clean again. It is possible they might still have to suffer the consequences on earth for their sins, and for a believer they might have loss of reward. Believers and even Paul had concern of turning away and suffering loss of reward in 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 and 9:27. But they are made clean before God and do not have to suffer the consequences in Hell.
Q: In Ezek 24:15-19, why did God take Ezekiel's wife away from him? I do not see Ezekiel or his wife doing anything wrong here, or anyway that this would benefit his wife?
A: God used even this external means to persuade the people to return to Him. Ezekiel would see his wife again in Heaven, but these people would never see Heaven if they did not repent.
Note that the Bible is silent on whether she was healthy and suddenly died, or whether she had been sick with a lingering disease. Scripture is also silent on whether God especially had her die at this time, or whether God used her death, but informed Ezekiel first.
If a Christian is obedient to God, one might like to think that physical health and life of that person and their family is God's highest priority. Actually, Ezekiel 24:16-18 shows that this is not the case. God's perspective, of millions of years, can be different from a shortsighted perspective. Our highest priority should be God's glory, not our life.
Q: In Ezek 24:15-24, how did this work together for good for Ezekiel, as Rom 8:28 says?
A: First three things that are not the answer, and then the answer.
X Romans 8:28 was not written yet, so God's promise in Romans 8:28 was not given yet. While Romans 8:28 was written over 500 years later, I believe this still worked out for the good.
X Greater rewards in heaven for faithfully enduring sufferings on earth. While this is also likely true, we can see how this worked out on earth too.
X Worse things might have happened if Ezekiel's wife still lived. Perhaps she, or Ezekiel would have turned away from the Lord, had a lingering disease, etc. However, while we don't know that this speculation is true, we can see a good result in Ezekiel's loss without postulating that.
The answer: Ezekiel's comfort was not God's highest priority. Through Ezekiel's loss, the other people, who were spiritually lost, could see how severe things would be, and would perhaps repent.
Q: In Ezek 24:19-27, to what extent should we sacrifice, not for our own ultimate benefit, but for the ultimate good of others.
A: First what is not the answer, but still instructive, and then the answer.
X The early church writer Origen was very influential. He did good things, such as convincing some Gnostics to leave Gnosticism and become genuine Christians, but he had some seriously wrong teachings too. However, no one ever said he had a lack of commitment. While a young man, he knew of a wealthy lady who had some valuable books and scriptural manuscripts. So with her consent he lived with her, - solely for studying the manuscripts. If this happened today there would be scandal in the church, for the example of appearance of sexual sin. Happening back then would be the same. But Origen really, really wanted access to those manuscripts. So Origen made it 100% certain there was no possibility of scandal - permanently. Later other church leaders castigated Origen for what he did. But no one questioned Origen's commitment. Perhaps though, people should have questioned whether his commitment to those manuscripts and learning was higher than his commitment to set a good example in following God.
The answer: Would you be willing to lose someone very close to you, if for no other reason than others would wake up and come to know the Lord through your loss? Paul willingly gave up everything in Philippians 3:7-8, and that is easy for us to read, but we should stop and think if we are willing to do the same. God essentially had Ezekiel's wife die because of the sin of the people, to help them. Likewise Paul in Colossians 1:24 says he suffered for the Colossians. Of course Paul never said his sufferings were in any way an atonement, like Jesus' sufferings were. But in a way Paul was still following Jesus' example, in Philippians 2:5-6, knowing that He would be exalted again.
Q: In Ezek 24:20-27, what was the key new information God was giving the people through the death of Ezekiel's wife?
A: The details prophesied through Ezekiel would be a sign that this was from the Lord. However, the primary benefit to the people of Ezekiel's wife dying was probably not in new information. Anyway, the new information could have been conveyed without Ezekiel's wife dying. Rather, the primary benefit was not the message that God was saying, as much as God is saying "I am serious here". Sometimes when we share the gospel, the problem with the hearers is not that they took it seriously and rejected it, but rather that they never took our words seriously in the first place. So while it is important to get out the message of the gospel, it is just as important for people to see, by your words, your life, and by your responses to what happens in your life, that your message needs to be taken very seriously.
Q: In Ezek 24:26, what is significant about a fugitive telling them the news?
A: A fugitive would be someone who escaped from the battle. One cannot typically rely on people running from a battle to make sure you get the message. It is a negative message of what happened in the past. It can also mean that worse times, or an army, is not far behind the messenger.
Q: In Ezek 25:1-7, what exactly did the Ammonites do wrong?
A: They rejoiced over Judah's destruction. The Ammonites were constant enemies of the Israelites. Ammon fought Israel during the time of Jephthah (Judges 10:6-11:33, fought with Saul over Jabesh Gilead in 1 Samuel 11:1-11, and after humiliating David's ambassadors David conquered them in 1 Chronicles 19:1-20:3. After Solomon's time they became independent, and they joined the Moabites and Edomites to attack Judah in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30. They tried to take Israel's territory in Jeremiah 49:1, and helped Nebuchadnezzar against Jehoiakim in 2 Kings 24:1-2. The capital, Rabbah, was left in ruins, though later the site became Amman, the capital of Jordan today.
In 593 B.C. Ammon joined an alliance with Judah and Tyre against Babylon.
See the Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1275-1276 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 25:6-8, what exactly was wrong with rejoicing over the destruction of Jerusalem?
A: There were a number of things wrong.
1. People should never rejoice over the destruction of God's people, even if they were disobedient. When you touch God's people you touch the apple of His eye. God promised the Israelites in Genesis 12:1-3,15 that those who bless Abraham's descendents will be blessed, and those who curse them will be cursed.
2. The Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites harbored a centuries-old feud with the Israelites.
3. In addition, with Judah out of the way, the Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites could profit by being free to expand westward.
Q: In Ezek 25:8-11, what exactly did the Moabites do wrong?
A: Verse 8 simply says that they said that Judah has become like the other nations. This could mean they recognized that the God of Israel was no longer with them, it could also mean that Judah was now open for attack. This could also be derisive, meaning that spiritually Judah, and the reputation of its God, was no better than any of the other nations. The flank of Moab was the northern portion, which the Babylonian army would attack first.
Q: In Ezek 25:12-17, what exactly did the Edomites and Philistines do wrong?
A: Theses were similar to the Ammonites and Moabites, but there is a different emphasis here. In Ezekiel 25:12,15 Edom and Philistia were specifically rebuked for taking revenge. According to Psalm 137:7; Jeremiah 49:7-22, and Obadiah 1-21 after Jerusalem was destroyed the Edomites waited at the crossroads to kill and rob the fleeing Jews. Later Nebuchadnezzar gave the Philistines part of the territory of Judah. After the Edomites and Philistines took revenge on God's people, God promised that they would know His revenge. Eventually the Nabataean Arabs took over the land of Edom, and the Edomites flesh to the Negev in southern Judah, where the Jewish king John Hyrcanus (134-104 B.C.) conquered them.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.831 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 25:16 (KJV), what are "cherethims"?
A: Cherethites are the same as Philistines. This has nothing to do with "cherubim", which are an exalted class of angels. Saying God would cut off the Philistines is most likely a wordplay, because "cut off" is hikrati and "Kerethites" is Keretim. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1278 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.6 p.868 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 25:16 and 26:3, what are the plays on words here? Why would God use plays on words?
A: In Ezekiel 25:16 Cherethites are the same as Philistines. Saying God would cut off the Philistines is most likely a wordplay, because "cut off" is hikrati and "Kerethites" is Keretim. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1278 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.6 p.868 for more info.
In Ezekiel 26:3 the word for the city of Tyre, sor, means a hard rock or pebble. God said that he would scrape away Tyre's buildings and make it a bare rock. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1278 for more info.
A play on words is not necessarily a joke, but a way better to remember the prophecy.
Q: In Ezek 26:1-2, the new date here indicates this is a separate prophecy. What exactly did the Phoenicians of Tyre do wrong?
A: The Phoenicians were traditionally allies of Israel. Unlike the Edomites and Philistines, the Philistines did not seek revenge, but were still very glad commercially that Judah was out of the way, and they could potentially have more trade themselves. Be careful, whether you are investing, or in doing anything else, when you rejoice over the misery of others.
Q: In Ezek 26:3-14, was Ezekiel's prophecy of victory over Tyre contradicted in Ezek 29:17-20, since Nebuchadnezzar did not conquer Tyre, as Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.587-588 asserts?
A: No. First notice that those who listened to Ezekiel did not see any difficulty, as four chapters later, Ezekiel 29:17-18 says that Nebuchadnezzar got no reward (i.e. plunder) from Tyre. The answer first discusses the literary structure, what was prophesied, what was not prophesied, and finally what happened.
Ezekiel 26:3-14 has a chiastic structures, with some exceptions. In a perfect chiasm, each thought is put in parallel in symmetric form. The changes in pronouns in Hebrew are important here.
Ezek 26:3 Many nations will come against Tyre
..Ezek 26:4 They will destroy Tyre's walls and towers.
....Ezek 26:4,5 I [God] will make Tyre a bare rock, a place to spread fishnets.
......Ezek 26:6 Her mainland settlements will be sacked.
........Ezek 26:7 Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, will come against Tyre
......Ezek 26:8 He [Nebuchadnezzar] will sack your mainland settlements.
..Ezek 26:8,9 He will demolish the walls and towers
..Ezek 26:10,11 His horses will enter Tyre's gates and kill some of the people.
Ezek 26:12 They will plunder the wealth and loot. They will break down your walls and throw the rubble into the sea.
Ezek 26:13 I [God] will put an end to their songs.
....Ezek 26:14 I [God] will make Tyre bare rock, a place to spread fishnets.
As a side note, the Septuagint preserved the pronouns correctly until verse 12. Thereafter, it used "he" where it should have used "they" two times and "I" [God] one time.
2. What was prophesied:
There are three parts to the prophecy: many nations (they), God (I), and Nebuchadnezzar (he).
Many nations will come, loot Tyre, destroy Tyre's walls, and throw the rubble into the sea.
God will make Tyre a bare rock, a place to spread fishnets, and end their songs (Tyrian culture).
Nebuchadnezzar will come, sack the mainland city, and destroy the walls and towers, and kill some of the people.
3. What was not prophesied:
It never mentions that Nebuchadnezzar will do anything to the island, or which nation God will use to make the island a place for spreading fishnets. It was the many nations "they" that got the plunder, while Nebuchadnezzar only got the mainland settlements.
4. What happened:
The Assyrians, prior to Ezekiel's prophecy, unsuccessfully tried to capture the mainland city in 726/724 B.C. for five years. They tried again, and failed in 664 B.C.
Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon besieged Tyre for 13 years from 586/585 to 573 B.C. They successfully demolished the mainland city. However the Tyrians in Old Tyre moved to the pre-existing New Tyre on the island (700-750 meters away) across from the mainland city. The Tyrian fleet kept the Babylonians from attacking the island city.
Alexander the Macedonian, after Tyre murdered his ambassadors, captured the mainland city. He used the rubble to build a 200 foot (60 meter) wide causeway (artificial land-bridge) half a mile long (600-750 meters) connecting to the island city, and after seven months, he captured the island city in 332 B.C. The Encyclopedia Britannica mentions that in capturing Tyre he used ships from many nations: Sidon, Cyprus, Rhodes, Mallus, Soli, Lycia, and of course, Macedonia. Alexander's army killed 8,000 people at first, crucified 2,000 later, and enslaved the remaining 30,000. (The Anchor Bible Dictionary vol. 6 p.687 says 6,000 were killed at first, 2,000 crucified later, 30,000 sold into slavery, and 15,000 ransomed by the Sidonians.
See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.276-278 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1279 for more on the he/they showing the two-phase destruction. 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.187 reminds us that the time element of the two-phase was not specified. See also When Critics Ask p.287 for more info.
See the discussion on Ezekiel 26:14,19-20 for info on Tyre never being rebuilt.
Q: In Ezek 26:3-21, what is a history of Tyre?
A: For those who wish to see the historical details, here is a history of Tyre.
2300 B.C. is the time archaeologists think colonists from Sidon fleeing the Philistines founded Tyre, about 25 miles to the south. This would be a couple of hundred years before Abraham. The Anchor Bible Dictionary vol.6 p.687 mentions that an Egyptian text from 1780-1750 B.C. mentions Tyre.
It also mentions that before Hiram I, son of Abibaal, (969-936 B.C.) the "island" of Tyre was actually two islands. People lived on one island, and the other island only had a temple of Baal. Hiram joined together the two with a causeway to form one island. The Anchor Bible Dictionary vol.6 p.686 says the area of the combined island was about 57.6 hectares.
Hiram I of Tyre forces the Tityans to pay tribute.
936-929 B.C. Beleazarus, son of Hiram, rules in Tyre
929-920 B.C. Abdastartus, son of Beleazarus, rules in Tyre. He is assassinated by four sons of his nurse.
The next kings are Astartus, Aserymus his brother.
Phelles/Pheles kills his brother Aserymus and reigns for 8 months.
897/869-865/837 B.C. Ethbaal I (Josephus calls him Ithobalus), a priest of Astarte, overthrows Phelles and rules as king in Tyre
837-831 B.C. Baal-azzor, son of Ethbaal I reigns
831-822 B.C. Matgenus, son of Badezorus reigns
822/820-775/774 B.C. Pygmalion reigns
815/814 B.C. City of Carthage founded by Tyrians and Pygmalion's sister Dido.
9th century. Tyre pays Assyrians to leave it alone. (Encyclopedia Britannica 1961 vol.22 p.452)
9th century Tyre pays Shalmaneser III tribute. (Encyclopedia Britannica 1961 vol.22 p.452)
743 B.C. Assyrians capture Kashpuna, near Tyre and Sidon
?-739/738 B.C. Ethbaal II rules over Tyre and Sidon
738-730/729 B.C. Hiram II rules in Tyre
730/729 B.C. Mattan II pays 150 talents of gold
Eloulaios of Tyre puts down a revolt on Cyprus
726/724 B.C. Shalmaneser V first tries to capture Tyre by sea.
726/724-722/720 B.C. Shalmaneser V and the Assyrians besiege Tyre for five years. He dies still trying.
c.720 B.C. Assyrian Sargon II conquers Tyre. (Encyclopedia Britannica 1961 vol.22 p.452)
701 B.C. Sennacherib and the Assyrians capture the town of Usse near Tyre
701-~630 B.C. Assyria does not permit any trade by Tyre.
680-669 B.C. Baal I rules Tyre and forms a "League of Hatti" against Assyria.
669 B.C. Tyre surrenders to Ashurbanipal. (Encyclopedia Britannica 1961 vol.22 p.452)
664 B.C. Ashurbanipal and the Assyrians try to capture Tyre
586/585-573/572 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar II and the Babylonians besiege Tyre and Ethbaal II for 13 years and destroy the mainland city.
c.572 B.C. Evidence indicates the island city surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar II. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1279, Encyclopedia Britannica 1961 vol.22 p.452)
c.572 B.C. Ethbaal II was taken to Babylon, and Baal II ruled Tyre under the control of the Babylonians.
345 B.C. Tyre tries to revolt from Persia
332 B.C. Alexander demolishes Tyre after a 7-month siege
c.50 A.D. The city of Tyre existed in Paul's time (Acts 12:20; 21:3,7)
638 A.D. Muslims capture Tyre, along with Antioch, Caesarea, and Tripolis in Lebanon
1124 A.D. Crusaders capture Tyre
1291 A.D. Muslims destroy Tyre
See the Encyclopedia Britannica, Josephus' Against Apion book 1 ch.18, and the Anchor Bible Dictionary vol.6 p.686-692 for more info on Tyre.
Q: In Ezek 26:9, what are engines of war?
A: These were siege engines, including towers that archers could shoot from and battering rams. These are effective against fortified cities in general, including Tyre. However, they would not be very effective against Jerusalem, since it was on a mountain, and it would be difficult to get the machines up there, and then to use them uphill.
Q: In Ezek 26:14,19-21 how would Tyre never be rebuilt, since the village of Sur (Tyre) exists today?
A: This question can be nicknamed "the question of mistaken identity." The modern city of Sur (or Tyre is not on the site of the ancient city. First some information on Tyre, then what the Bible says, and finally the situation today.
Tyre was originally only a mainland city build by Phoenician colonists from Sidon. Nobody actually conquered this city until 573 B.C., when Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians destroyed the mainland city after a 13-year siege. However, during those 13 years, the Tyrians in Old Tyre moved almost everything of value to the New Tyre on the island half a mile from the mainland city. Alexander built a causeway connecting New Tyre and Old Tyre. Silt built up along the causeway, and now there is no island, only a peninsula.
In the Bible,
Ezekiel 26:14 does not say not a soul would live there, but that the city would never be rebuilt.
Ezekiel 26:19 says the city will be laid waste, like cities that are not inhabited. The deep will come over Tyre.
Ezekiel 26:21 says that the city of Tyre will be no more, and never be found again.
Today, of the island city's two harbors, the southern harbor has filled up with sand. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica (1972), the modern town of Sur had a population of 16,483 in 1961. An aerial map shows that it is built on the north part of what was the island city and part of the causeway. The city of Old Tyre is uninhabited, bare rock, east of the modern city of Sur.
Q: In Ezek 27:1-11, to what extent do you think wicked spiritual forces are behind nations, then and now?
A: Daniel 10:12-14 that at least some times there are. Looking at some of the most effective slaughters of history, whether they be Tamerlane, Genghis Khan, Hitler, Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, etc., it is hard for even many non-religious people to believe that people, on their own, could be so evil. But killing is not the only tool Satan uses. Telling a typical person in the 1990's that homosexuality and gay marriage would be an extremely important issue in the 2010's would likely be met with disbelief. Even someone who is for gay marriage today, such a Bill Clinton, clearly said marriage was a union of a man and a women, when, with reservations, he signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_of_Marriage_Act#Enactment_and_role_of_Bill_Clinton for the details on that.
In general, not just on homosexuality, Satan blows winds how he will, and many people do not resist any more than fallen leaves.
Q: In Ezek 27:7, where were the coasts of Elishah?
A: It was most likely north Africa, though it is possible it was Cyprus. The Septuagint transliterates this as Elisai. However, Cyprus is just mentioned, and they did trade wit North Africa. So why would they mention Cyprus twice and North Africa not at all?
North Africa: Large numbers of people from Tyre went to north Africa and founded Carthage in modern-day Tunisia. The founder of Carthage, had a throne name of "Dido", but her actual name was Elissa, and thus Carthage was on the coast of "Elissa". This migration started happening when the Assyrians besieged Tyre.
Cyprus: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1280 mentions that some scholars equate it with Alashia, the ancient name for Cyprus.
Other possibilities are parts of Greece, Italy, or Syria, but they do not make sense, because the Phoenicians did not go there.
Q: In Ezek 27:10-17, where were these places?
A: While Phut could be a scribal error for "Punt", in east Africa, that is most likely not the case. It probably refers to modern-day northeastern Libya, called Put in ancient times.
Arvad was a coastal city in the north part of Phoenicia. Today, no one knows the location of Gammad.
The Hebrew word translated as "Panang" in the KJV is uncertain. The NIV translates this not as a place, but as "confections". The NKJV, NET, and the NRSV translates this as the grain "millet".
Q: In Ezek 27:32-34, 28:8, how was the city of Tyre destroyed in the middle of the sea?
A: This prophecy would have seemed strange at the time it was given, because Tyre was a costal city on the mainland. However, later Tyre was expanded to also occupy an island half a mile from the original city. The original city was destroyed, but the island city survived until Alexander of Macedon.
Q: In Ezek 27:36; 28:19, how was Tyre destroyed forever?
A: In two ways.
Physically, the city was no more. Alexander the great used the bricks and rubble of the mainland city of Tyre to build a mole (land bridge) 200 feet wide to the island where the people of Tyre had built a new city. The physical bricks of the city, its walls, and buildings are a part of the ground.
The people of Tyre, whether on the mainland, or those who fled to the Island, were all killed or sold into slavery by Alexander the Great. 8,000 or so were killed when the city was captured, 2,000 were killed later, and 30,000 were sold into slavery.
Q: In Ezek 28, how did Lucifer fall and become Satan?
A: Revelation 12:7-9 gives us some insight on the circumstances of mysterious event. Apparently when Satan fell, he took 1/3 of the angels of Heaven with him. Isaiah 14:12-16 gives us a hint at Lucifer's motivation. He wanted to be like God.
Q: In Ezek 28, does this refer to Satan, or the king of Tyre?
A: It refers to both. This is fitting, as the Phoenicians, as well as the Egyptians, Babylonians, and others, considered their king a manifestation of a god. The king of Tyre claimed to be the manifestation of the god Melkart. God differentiated between the prince of Tyre, and his master, the king of Tyre. The one who was called the prince was a mortal man, whom other people would think was the master of Tyre. The real ruler was Satan though, and is addressed in Ezekiel 28:11 onward. However, the prince and king share many characteristics in common. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.316, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.278-280, When Critics Ask p.287-288, the Complete Book of Bible Answers p.241-244, and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.187-188 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 28:3, how was he wiser than Daniel, and could this be "Danel" Ugaritic literature?
A: Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel, and his position, fame, and wisdom under the Babylonians would be well-known. The spelling is the same as in the book of Daniel except for a missing yod, which looks like an apostrophe. The spelling is different than Danel in the stories of Ugarit, and Danel was not particularly wise.
Satan has been around a long time. He likely knows scripture better than the most knowledgeable human on earth, has been experienced in understanding and tempting people for a very, very long time. He can tell enough of the truth, and things people don't know, to get them to believe the deadly lies mixed in. I would never want to match wits with Satan or listen and try to figure out truth from Satan. Fortunately we never need to. Simply follow God. Similar to a basketball or football team, as we obey God He, His angels, and His other servants on earth can run "interference" for us, as we score victories for His glory.
See also The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.881 for more on Danel.
Q: In Ezek 28:8, was this a false prophecy, as the skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.590 claims?
A: No. Asimov claims this because the king of Tyre, Ethbaal (Ithobaal) II was taken captive to Babylon and not killed first. While Ethbaal was taken to Babylon, Asimov is conjecturing here, because history does not record how Ethbaal was killed.
Q: In Ezek 28:10, why does it mention that the king of Tyre would die the death of the uncircumcised?
A: Like both the Egyptians and the Hebrews, the Phoenicians practiced circumcision, unlike their enemies, the Babylonians and Philistines. In contrast, the Greeks and Mesopotamian peoples did not. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1282 also mentions that this has the connotation of dying in shame.
See also The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.880 for the Phoenicians practicing circumcision.
Q: In Ezek 28:10, who else practiced circumcision?
A: The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.220-221 says the Hebrews, Arabians, Moabites, and Ammonites practiced circumcision. In Egypt the tomb of Ti (c.2300 B.C.) at Saqqarah shows the operation on 13-year old boys. Josephus reports that John Hyrcanus had to force the Edomites to be circumcised. Curiously, circumcision was not limited to the Mideast. It also says that Australians and some peoples in America practiced circumcision too. Circumcision was not practiced by Assyrians, Babylonians, Canaanites, Greeks, or Philistines.
For Muslims, the Qur'an does not even mention circumcision, but Muslims practice it on 13-year old boys, as they acknowledge that Abraham was circumcised.
See also the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.354-355 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 28:1-11, to what extent do you think wicked spiritual forces are behind nations, then and now?
A: Daniel 10:12-14 says that at least some times there are. Looking at some of the most effective slaughters of history, whether they be Tamerlane, Genghis Khan, Hitler, Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, etc., it is hard for even many non-religious people to believe that people, on their own, could be so evil. But killing is not the only tool Satan uses. Telling a typical person in the 1990's that homosexuality and gay marriage would be an extremely important issue in the 2010's would likely be met with disbelief. Even someone who is for gay marriage today, such a Bill Clinton, clearly said marriage was a union of a man and a women, when, with reservations, he signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_of_Marriage_Act#Enactment_and_role_of_Bill_Clinton for the details on that.
In general, not just on homosexuality, Satan blows winds how he will, and many people do not resist any more than fallen leaves.
Q: In Ezek 28:12, how could Satan fall, since he was full of wisdom?
A: Obviously, wisdom alone does not keep one from falling. In fact, knowledge, even knowledge of God, can puff up, but love builds up, according to 1 Corinthians 8:1.
Q: In Ezek 29:10 (KJV, NET, NASB), where is Syene?
A: Syene was a city and fort in Southern Egypt. It is translated as "Aswan" in the NIV, but either name refers to the same city. It is significant that this southern town is mentioned, and then the border of Ethiopia, as the next answer shows.
Q: In Ezek 29:11-13; 30:23-26, when was Egypt uninhabited for forty years and the Egyptians scattered by the Babylonians?
A: This answer is a duplicate of the discussion on Jeremiah 46:13-20.
Skeptics used to think that the Babylonians never attacked Egypt, because Greek historians gave no mention of this invasion. However, not only did the Jewish historian Josephus mentions this in Antiquities of the Jews 10.9.5-7 (c.93-94 A.D.), When Critics Ask p.280 points out that a fragment of a Babylonian Chronicle from 567 B.C., as well as a inscription on the funerary statue of Nes-hor in south Egypt, corroborate with Josephus and the Bible. Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.276-278 mentions a Babylonian cuneiform tablet discovered by Pinches tells of an invasion 569/568 B.C. (It is unclear if this is the same tablet mentioned in When Critics Ask p.280, or a different tablet.)
How far into Egypt did the Babylonians go? Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.593 (1981), admits that Nebuchadnezzar invaded Egypt, but says "it could not have been the resounding Babylonian success that Ezekiel had confidently predicted." The invasion probably was brief. However, according to Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.278, the funerary statue of Nes-hor says that during sometime during the reign of Uah-ib-Ra, an army of northerners went so far south as to threaten the Ethiopian border. Nes-hor was the governor of southern Egypt under Pharaoh Hophra according to When Critics Ask p.280. Note that Ezekiel did not predict how long the Babylonians would remain in Egypt, only that they would invade Egypt to the border of Ethiopia.
Q: In Ezek 29:14; 30:14; where is the land of Pathros?
A: This was an ancient name for upper Egypt. Upper Egypt is the southern part of Egypt.
Q: In Ezek 29:18, how was every head made bald in the Babylonian army?
A: If the soldiers wore helmets long enough, their hair would be rubbed off. Roman soldiers also complained of this phenomena in later centuries. It is unclear whether this baldness was temporary or permanent. The NIV Study Bible p.1267 says basically the same thing, adding that the helmets were leather.
Q: In Ezek 30:5, where is Chub/Cub?
A: It is believed to be a part of modern-day Libya.
Q: In Ezek 30:15 and Nah 3:8, where is the city of "No"?
A: "No Amon" was another name Thebes, a major city of Egypt. It was also nicknamed by the Egyptians as "The City". The Egyptian word for village was niwt, which the Hebrews changed to No. The full Hebrew name, No-Amon, meant town/village of Amon. It counted on help from Put and Lubim, but no help came, according to the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1140. Nahum speaks of No as already being destroyed, and Thebes was destroyed in 663 B.C. The city of Thebes was rebuilt in 654 B.C. according to The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1496. See the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1211 for more info on Thebes/No.
Q: In Ezek 30:15,16, how did God pour His fury on Sin?
A: This does not refer to sinful acts, but rather to the region called the Wilderness of Sin, also called Pelusium, which is to the northeast of Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula. The skeptical Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.593 has a helpful comment here. When the Persian king Cambyses conquered Egypt, he first defeated the Egyptian army at Pelusium in 525 B.C.. There was little resistance after that.
Q: In Ezek 31:13, in the allegory, what are the fouls of heaven and the beasts of the field?
A: The "birds and beasts settling in" sounds undesirable. Either they represented demons, or else people who would exploit others. Deuteronomy 28:26 says their bodies would be food for the birds and beasts.
Q: In Ezek 31:15-18 and Ezek 32:2, why did God cause a great mourning for the Pharaoh of Egypt?
A: Scripture does not say, but we can speculate. By being so close to the Israelites, the Egyptians, more than most other peoples, had access to much knowledge about the true God. The Egyptian religion did not have so many detestable practices as the Canaanite and Babylonian religions. Yet pride in things Egyptian made them spiritually more distant from Israel than the Queen of Sheba and the Ethiopian Eunuch.
Q: In Ezek 32:13, in this allegory, what do the beasts that would be destroyed represent?
A: It might refer to the fact that the livestock were the means of gaining wealth.
Q: In Ezek 32:21-32, what is the meaning of this imagery from the grave?
A: There are at least three points of this vivid picture. It is certain that Babylon is going down. The use of repetition emphasizes that Babylon will be no different than Assyria, Elam, Meshech, Tubal, and other nations. Finally, just as it would be incredible to believe that the Assyrians would be destroyed in their prime, it seems incredible that the Babylonians would ever be destroyed. Yet this would certainly happen.
Q: In Ezek 32, when is cultural pride good, and what are at least seven ways that it can be bad?
A: Are you content or happy with the culture you were born into? There is nothing wrong with that. But cultural pride can be wrong in a number of ways.
1. Do you think you are entitled to certain things, over other people, because of your culture?
2. Do you think you were born better than other people because of your culture?
3. Do you look down on others because of your culture, as Jonah looked down on the wicked Assyrians? When you see a thoroughly evil person, remember that "there but for the grace of God go I."
4. Do you think you have the right to take advantage of or oppress other people because of your culture?
5. Because of your culture, do you think you were "born to rule"?
6. Do you think that God excuses wickedness in you, but not the same thing in others, because of your culture? "I will support them right or wrong."
7. Do you excuse the wickedness of others in your group, when you condemn the same things in those not of your group? "They may be rascals, but we still support them because they are our rascals."
Q: In Ezek 32, when does cultural pride get in the way of the gospel, and get in the way of obeying God?
A: The most obvious way is when your culture says to do something, and God says to do something else. Or, you are proud of something in your culture, when God says that was wicked.
A less obvious way is shown in the example of Jonah. He was proud of godly aspects of his culture, and looked down on evil unbelievers. We should recognize sin as sin, but we should not look down on anyone.
Q: In Ezek 32, how can people perpetuate cultural sins?
A: If your ancestors or parents sinned, and you choose to turn down a different path and not do those things, then you are not guilty of those sins. But if you actively choose to follow the sins of your ancestors or parents, then you share in their sin. Many people do neither one; they don't really decide anything, they just passively do what their culture says. Then they also share in the sins of their culture and ancestors.
A key function of culture, either good or bad, is to provide a sense of normalcy to attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. If those are wicked, and against God's word, following the culture can give a false sense of legitimacy to that wickedness.
One bad purpose studying history can serve is to perpetuate hatreds. For example, there was one Muslim boy who said that he hated Jews, even though he had never met one. What if things he had been told about Jews were false?
Q: In Ezek 33:1-6, what are the things a watchman does for a city? How come a country does not have a watchman?
A: Being a watchman is an important commitment. A watchman does at least four things.
1. They keep watch to sound the trumpet and warn the city population, especially the soldiers, about an impending attack. They look into the distance to give as much advance warning of an attack as possible.
2. They give the direction of the attack, and the size of the army and other details of the attack.
3. If the city is already under attack, they can let people know when they see reinforcements to fight the attackers.
4. They give the inhabitants of the city a sense of security. They know their soldiers will not be sleeping if the watchman is vigilant. Of course, if the watchman falls asleep himself, then he is giving a false sense of security.
Q: In Ezek 33:1-6, why is a watchman for a city so important? What can happen when a watchman falls down on the job?
A: A watchman is either only one person, or else one person per direction for a large city. A watchman himself does not have the power to repel any invaders. but the watchman is essential to sound the alarm and enable the sleeping defenders to fight.
If a watchman falls asleep on the job, on a typical night nothing will happen, if nobody catches the watchman. But if an invading army appears, then it will be too late for the city if the watchman is sleeping. So more than 99% of the time the watchman's efforts appear not to matter. But for that 1%, his job is very, very important. Roman soldiers who fell asleep when on guard were burned to death in their clothes.
In Ireland centuries ago, a private was standing guard over a fort in a time of peace. An officer and his girlfriend were walking around the walls of the garrison, when the officer accidentally dropped over the wall the engagement ring his was going to give to his girlfriend. So he requested the private to get it, and the private said he would if the officer stood watch in his place. They agreed. The private never returned. The officer fell asleep. The private's commander saw sleeping watchman and shot and killed him.
Q: In Ezek 33:7-11, what are the things a spiritual watchman does?
A: A spiritual watchman warns of impending dangers or heresies that may come but are still a long way off. She or he also warns of dangers that are present, or where the walls are breached and they are in the city of God. They also direct believers as to where the danger lies, and the importance of addressing those dangers.
Q: In Ezek 33:7-11, what is a spiritual watchman so important? What can happen when a spiritual watchman falls down on the job?
A: First and foremost, God commanded that we should examine ourselves, and that we should guard the flock from spiritual wolves. Christians can be lulled to sleep by false assurances of others that they share the same faith. Christians can become discouraged and lose their zeal.
Q: In Ezek 33:7-11, what are ways we can be a spiritual watchman today?
A: Christians with gifts of knowledge and discerning can and should be spiritual watchman in four overlapping ways.
1. We can work with others to guard the flock from external threats. We can guard against false religions don't claim to be Christian, as well as false religions that do.
2. We can work with others to guard the flock from false brothers, from savage wolves among us (Acts 20:28-31).
3. We can guard against sin, especially when a Christian leader promotes sin as "OK". We can watch our marriages.
4. We can guard against discouragement. When Christians are starting to have their light fade, they can remind them of Who they are serving, the goal they are striving for, and the vanity of the things of this world.
How effective a watchman is depends both on how alert he is, and the credibility people have to listen to him. Almost everyone in America knows about the famous ride of Paul Revere, warning that the British were coming to take their ammunition. William Dawes rode too, and was just as important. Revere warned the people along the way, while Dawes rode straight to Lexington to warn the leaders there. Both men were not very famous in their lifetime, but when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote of Paul Revere's midnight ride, he completely ignored Dawes. Some watchmen become famous, and some will not be remembered, at least here on earth.
Q: In Ezek 33:7-11, what are improper ways to be a watchman, which we should not do?
A: We should not call a soul-perishing heresy what is merely an error. We should not put out some sins, and either be silent or tacitly accept even greater sins. Even though there are times we should be severe in our message, we should share the truth in love. Finally, we should realize that there are different kinds of answers depending on where the listener is at. There is instruction, gentle correction, exhortation, and finally harsh rebuke, which in the Bible included ridicule, name-calling, and threats of Hell.
How do we tell what is proper? We can look at examples in the Bible. When Paul warned erring churches in 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians and Colossians, and when he gave warnings to some bad ideas b a few in his letter to the Philippians we can see one way of being a watchman. When Peter warns us in 2 Peter, we can see a second way of being a watchman. When we see John write in 1, 2, and 3 John, we can see a third way of being a watchman. When Jude warns us in the Book of Jude, we can see a fourth style of being a watchman. Finally, when we see the writer of Hebrews, not warning against heresies, but warning believers of the essential importance of continuing in their faith, we see a totally different style of being a watchman.
Q: In Ezek 33:12-21, how was Ezekiel being a watchman in different way that one would expect?
A: The people were not coming to Ezekiel asking "what should we do?" or "is this right?". Rather they were not coming and asking anything at all here; they thought they had it all figured out, but they had it figured out wrong. One purpose of a watchman is to tell of new impending harm before the damage is done. A second purpose is to show people who are already convinced of what they should rely on, that what they were relying on was wrong. It is to challenge the false things they think are true, after the false doctrine has already done its damage.
Q: In Ezek 33:17 (KJV), should this word be "equal" or "just"?
A: According to Strong's Concordance, the Hebrew word here, takan, means to balance, measure out, or equalize. While the word in isolation could mean "equal" or "just", the context indicates just as the NIV translates. The NKJV says "fair", and the NET and NASB translate this as "right".
Q: In Ezek 33:24, what was the point people were making about Abraham being only one but they are many?
A: Their point was that Abraham was only one person, and he inherited the land. Now we are much stranger than Abraham, because we are many, so take heart because we are even more capable of holding the land. God condemns this attitude. Abraham did not actually possess the land yet. Abraham did not even receive the promise of possessing the land because of his own strength or merit, but only because of God's grace. But they being many does not give them any more merit to possess the land; in fact they would have even less merit due to their idolatry and other sins. As they would find out shortly, even though they were many more than Abraham they were still not powerful enough, on their own, to repel the Babylonians. they relied on their own sword according to Ezekiel 33:26. And if God did not repel the Babylonians for them, which He said He was not going to do, then they were hoping in something that was not worth setting their hope on. They totally missed that it was God's grace and power, not human strength or merit.
Today an organization or denomination can start out well, but do bad when people start trusting in the organization, and feeling more loyalty to the organization or ministry than to God.
Q: In Ezek 33:25, what is unusual about the phrasing of the accusation here: "you lift up your eyes to idols"?
A: It does not say they worshipped those idols instead of God; perhaps some wanted to worship the idols in addition to God, in other words, keeping their options open by trying to play all sides. It does not explicitly say they worshipped those idols, though that is implied here. Lifting up your eyes is more general; it means regarding or paying attention to the idols at all. It means respecting the idols. I once heard a Christian apologist say we should respect the Muslim religion. The Bible never says we should respect false religions; and we should no more respect Islam, than both Muslims and Christians respect Hinduism or Buddhism. On the other hand, we should respect Muslim people, just as we should respect all people, since al humanity is made in the image of God.
Q: In Ezek 33:27-29, how is God "the one who makes desolate"?
A: When a people turn away from God, God will use unpleasant events to show that can rely on their strength alone. In America, as someone once said a few decades ago, when you take the Bible out of the schools you bring the metal detectors in. People might have thought he was wrong, but he was only off on his timing.
Q: In Ezek 3:30-33, God was telling Ezekiel that he had apparently achieved some sort of fame and popularity. Should Ezekiel care, and should we care if we become somewhat famous or popular?
A: There are two answers that sound contradictory on the surface, but they are actually complementary.
No, we should not care what other people think; as servants of God we should only care what our master thinks of us. We should not let fame or flattery puff up our pride, and possibly lead to a fall.
Yes, we should care about those things as tools for spreading the gospel. At one time a person was not famous. In the future, there will likely be a time where they are no longer famous, or no longer listened to. That is OK. But for the season, and for the place where a believer is famous or well-liked, the believer should use that platform to shine for Christ and share the gospel. But don't let it get to your head, because this too shall pass. God was not says this to appeal to a person's pride, but rather so that Ezekiel, and we might use fleeting fame for God's glory.
Q: In Ezek 33:31-33, why do some people who have no intention of following God still actively want to hear God's Words?
A: They want to feel good for being close to God, but they have other agendas too. They might not necessarily actively decide they are not going to follow what they hear, but they passively decide that obeying what God commands is optional. Charles Stanley talked about people who initially might be obedient to the Lord, and then "getting to maybe".
Q: In Ezek 34:1-4, 8-12, how are some religious leaders like these worthless shepherds?
A: Not only do worthless shepherds do nothing, but they are relied upon to do a job, which they fail to do. It is better to not have a shepherd, for the owner to know there is no shepherd, and the owner watch the sheep himself than to have a worthless shepherd when one thought him to be a good shepherd.
Likewise, it is a serious thing to be a leader of Christians and fail to do the job one is relied upon to do.
Q: In Ezek 34:1-6, what are characteristics that some of the worthless shepherds have?
A: Here are eight characteristics that at least some bad shepherds have.
Ezekiel 34:2 They care only for themselves
Ezekiel 34:2 Don't care for the flock
Ezekiel 34:3 They still want benefits of leading the flock though, even at the sacrifice of the best of the flock
Ezekiel 34:4 They make no effort to help or bring back the distressed of the flock
Ezekiel 34:4 They were rules harshly and brutally (without compassion)
Ezekiel 34:5 The flock as no better than having no shepherd
Ezekiel 34:5 The AWOL shepherds did not keep them from being preyed upon by others
Ezekiel 34:6 The AWOL shepherds did not keep them from being scattered and divided
Q: In Ezek 34:1-4, 8-12, how are some political leaders like these worthless shepherds?
A: They don't work for the people, only a paycheck. They don't care for those they are supposed to led, except to use them. They care only for themselves, and see their office as a way to profit.
Q: In Ezekiel 34:7-10, what does God promise He will do to these worthless shepherds here?
A: There are at least three things.
Ezekiel 34:10 God will hold them accountable
Ezekiel 34:10 God will removed them from tending the flock and getting benefit from that.
Ezekiel 34:10 God will rescue the flock from their exploitation
Richard FitzRalph (1299-1360), with his doctrine of dominion wrote that ungodly leaders should not have our service, our loyalty, or our money.
Q: In Ezekiel 34:11-16, what does God promise He will do for His sheep?
A: They would be led to pasture where they would be nourished and flourish. Not only would they be protected from predators, but they would be protected from a bad environment of other bad sheep.
Q: In Ezek 34:17-24, how can some Christians be sheep, but bad sheep by muddying the waters with the feet?
A: They can be sheep who don't care about muddying the waters, and keep other sheep from drinking. They can dishearten other believers, and set a bad example. They can keep other believers from what they need.
Q: In Ezek 34:23 and 48:21, is this "David" who is mentioned really David, or the Messiah?
A: Scripture does not say, but there are two views here. Either this is the Messiah, who will reign over all forever, or this is actually David, who some think will reign under Christ during the Millennium. 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.188 holds to the first view.
Q: In Ezek 34:25-31, what does God promise for his sheep?
A: God promises a place with no wild animals. He promised regular rain (and blessings). He promises no enslavement, hunger, or shame.
Q: In Ezek 34:25-31, are these to be fulfilled physically or spiritually? When will they be fulfilled?
A: This will ultimately be fulfilled during the Millennial reign, during the time of "My servant David" in Ezekiel 34:23-24. While God watches over us now, the absolute safety in their land and no longer be prey for nations.
Q: In Ezek 34:31, what does it mean individually to be one of God's sheep?
A: You are following the shepherd, who the New Testament reveals is Christ. Godly church leaders are under-shepherds, and we are supposed to follow them too, but only as they follow Christ (Hebrews 13:7; 1 Peter 5:1-5).
Q: In Ezek 34:31, what does it mean collectively for us to all be God's sheep?
A: We follow the Shepherd, who guides us and takes care of us. We trust that His way is the best way. We are together, as one flock.
Q: In Ezek 35:2-3,7, Gen 36:30; and 2 Chr 20:10; 25:11, where is Mount Seir?
A: This is the most prominent mountain in Edom, and is used here as a synonym representing the nation of Edom.
Q: In Ezek 35:5 how did Edom harbor an ancient hostility towards Israel?
A: Unfortunately, then and now, one purpose history has been used for is to teach and reinforce old hatreds. Around 1900 B.C., in Genesis 25:22-34; 27; 36:1 Esau, the ancestor of the Edomites, at one time wanted to kill Jacob, the ancestor of Israel. Later they reconciled though.
Around 1407 B.C, in Numbers 20:14-21; 24:15-19 The Edomites would not let the Israelites pass through their land toward Canaan.
1 Samuel 14:47 They fought in Saul's time
1 Kings 11:14-22 The Edomites under Hadad fought in Solomon's time
2 Chronicles 20:1-23 the Edomites made an alliance and fought in Jehoshaphat's time
2 Kings 8:21 The Edomites fought in Jehoram's time
2 Chronicles 28:17 The Edomites fought in Ahaz's time
Psalm 137:7; Lamentation 4:21-22; Obadiah 10-14 The Edomites aided the Babylonians against Judah.
Malachi 1:2-5 around 433 B.C., after the return from exile the Edomites were still enemies.
So the Edomites were enemies of Israel for almost a thousand years, not counting Esau. The Edomites raised a lot of sheep, but then so did the Moabites, Ammonites, Arabs, and Israelites. About the only thing the Edomites had going, besides raising sheep, was their hatred of Israel.
Q: In Ezek 35:5, what is bitterness, and what are its different phases?
A: Sometimes bad feelings go away over time. But sometimes, people keep reinforcing them so that they grow. Of course it can poison relations with someone you are bitter towards, but it can poison relations with others too. With bitterness at its worst, it is sad if your only reason for living is your hatred.
Q: In Ezek 35:15, 36:5, Isa 34:5-6 (KJV), why was Edom called Idumea here?
A: Idumea was a term used much later, by the Greeks and Romans, for the kingdom of the Edomites. The King James Version, as well as the Septuagint use the word "Idumea", but the Hebrew manuscripts say "Edom". According to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.830, the only place the word Idumea really appears in the Bible, apart from translations, is in Mark 3:8.
Q: In Ezek 36:1-12, was it wrong for the Israelites to feel encouraged here?
A: No, because God was promising to take away an adversary that would continually prey upon them in moments of weakness.
Q: In Ezek 36:13-21, what is the delicate balancing act God is doing here?
A: On one hand, God is declaring that Israel was deserving of their punishment. On the other hand, God said that their punishment would come to an end, and that they would be blessed. God did not want them to think that their sin was OK, but God did not want them to think that once they sinned greatly there was no going back.
Q: In Ezek 36:13-21, how do we show God's balancing act today?
A: God gives everyone a degree of freedom, but God also gives protection to the oppressed of His sheep. God will stop some sheep from oppressing others. Likewise we can let people do what they want, but defend the oppressed. As one person quipped, you have freedom to move your arms, but your freedom to move your arms ends where my nose begins.
Q: In Ezek 36:18, what is unusual about this word for idols?
A: The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.921 says this word, gillulim, is a favorite word of Ezekiel's for idols. It might be derived from the word gel, for dung, and thus Ezekiel is calling the idols "dung-things".
Q: In Ezek 36:21-22,32, how did God do this for His own name?
A: God would restore the Israelites, not because the deserved it, but because of His name. They were God's people, and God would preserve them as He promised to Abraham. Exodus 32:9-14 teaches the same concept.
Q: In Ezek 36:25-26, how will clean water make the Israelites clean?
A: In two ways.
Figuratively, like water cleanses from dirt, God cleanses everyone who will come to Him. Regardless of when people come to God, God does this through His specified high priest, Jesus Christ.
Physically, a time would come when God's people would follow Christ's command to be baptized.
Q: Ezekiel 36:25-30 has been called "The Gospel according to Ezekiel". How would a Jewish person back then think of these promises?
A: It would seem either humbling, humiliating, or possibly even insulting that God would not continue as things were before. God would have to give them a new heart. Saying they had a heart of stone was not exactly complimentary.
Q: In Ezek 36:31-32, how is this a part of genuine repentance?
A: When a person thinks about the past sins they committed, they don't think with wishful thinking, or delight, but rather loathing for what they had done.
Many people have heard of frogs and the hot stove effect. If you put a living frog in boiling water, the frog will jump out; it knows there is danger there. But if you put a frog in warm water, and then gradually heat it up to boiling, the frog will die, not realizing that it was being cooked to death. Likewise when people get accustomed to a little sin, they can be enticed to settle for very serious sins, as long as the change is gradual. The antidote for that, after repentance, is to loathe the sinful things that they did, both great and small.
Q: In Ezek 37, what is the meaning of the vision of the valley of bones?
A: While people could come up with all kinds of wild ideas of what the bones represent, Ezekiel 37:11 gives a clear answer. The bones represent the House of Israel. The Israelites were almost, but not completely killed or assimilated during the exile. However, Ezekiel 37 shows that even if every single Israelite were dead, God could still keep His promise to preserve them by bringing them back to life.
735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.183 says that this could possibly refer to the re-establishment of Israel as a nation in 1947.
Even if this refers to bodily resurrection, Muslims should have no trouble believing this miracle. Bones being miraculously reconstituted was also taught by Mohammed in Sahih Muslim 4:7055-7057 p.1527-1528
Q: In Ezek 37:1-2, what is the point, not of bones, but rather of bones that were very dry?
A: There was no bone marrow, blood, or anything living left in them. For them to be dry they had to have been dead for a long time. It was beyond hope, naturally, of them ever living again.
Q: In Ezek 37:3, what was Ezekiel's attitude in his answer to God?
A: Ezekiel was fully aware of the natural situation. But Ezekiel was not going to count anything out, with an Almighty God. That should be our attitude too.
Q: In Ezek 37:4, what was the point of talking to bones, who could not hear or understand anything?
A: If any pastor thinks that his congregation does not listen to him well, the New International Bible Commentary p.838 humorously points out that this was "the most unpromising congregation that any preacher ever addressed". The point of this vision was not to teach the bones anything. Rather it was to pronounce God's word on them that they would live. Sometimes our words are not for the purpose of teaching an all-knowing God, or even other people anything; sometimes it is to pronounce the word of the Lord.
Q: In Ezek 37:5-10, the Hebrew word ruah (breath/spirit) occurs ten times. Why would God emphasize so much that it was by His Spirit?
A: Scripture does not directly say, but we can speculate. In Genesis 1 God emphasized creating by speaking His Word, though He mentioned the Spirit once too. In other places God emphasizes working by his right arm, or in other words, His power. But here God is not just doing a physical work, but putting Spirit inside men (i.e. dry bones).
Q: In Ezek 37:7-10, in this vision what is the point of having a two-step process?
A: God can change things naturally and physically, even when it appears impossible. But God does not stop there. God can transform a persons' spirit, and give spiritual life, where there was none before.
Q: In Ezek 37:11-14 what is the direct application of the vision which God showed Ezekiel?
A: After Jerusalem was destroyed, this was a time when it looked like the Jews as a nation were finished forever.
There were many ancient kingdoms that were quite large or powerful in their time; the Ubaidians, Urartu, Hephthalites, Mitanni, Minoans, Sea Peoples, Lydians, Hyksos, Yueh-Chih, Cimmerians, and Scythians. Most people today never heard of them, but they were quite important, such as when the Lydians and Persians fought and tied. Yet there is no trace of them anymore. Even empires you have heard of, such as the Assyrians, Hittites, and Babylonians reached a point where there chance of every coming back was effectively zero. This was true for so many nations, and naturally one can conclude that like the Philistines, the time of the Jewish nation had come and gone, forever. However, God promised otherwise.
Q: In Ezek 37:15-17, what is the point of joining the two sticks to be one?
A: The people of the northern kingdom of Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah, having been separate and even fighting each other so many times, would be inseparable as one people.
Q: In Ezek 37:15-17, was the original disunity, or division of the sticks, the source of subsequent sins, as some in the local church of Witness Lee would think?
A: That is wrong and yet partially correct.
Wrong: It was God, not people, who originally caused the splitting of the united kingdom, according to 1 Kings 11:11-13, and God did not sin. It was because of the sins of Solomon and the people drifting away from God. The people of Judah were ready to correct this split, but God sent word through his prophet Shemaiah not to stop the Israelites from splitting, because this was God's doing, according to 1 Kings 12:21-24.
Partially correct: As soon as the split occurred, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel plunged them into more wickedness by inaugurating the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan, according to 1 Kings 12:25-33.
Q: In Ezek 37:16-17, could the two sticks be the Bible and the Book of Mormon, as Mormons claim?
A: No. Keith Meservy in an article in the Mormon Magazine The Ensign September 1977 p.22-27 had an article claiming this. He noticed that the specific Hebrew word for rod/stick, matteh, is not used in Ezekiel 37:16-17; rather the Hebrew word 'ets is a generic word for tree/wood. Assyrian and Babylonians used wooden "writing tablets", so he says this "confirms the correctness" of the Mormon interpretation. However, the wooden tablets were hollowed on the inside so that they could be filled with wax, and the wax was written on. On one hand Meservy has shown that the "sticks" could be either writing tablets or rods. If this was really significant, this would support the New and Old Testament as much as the Bible and Book of Mormon. However it does not refer to scripture here. Mormons totally ignore that Ezekiel 37:18b-28 says it already tells us what these two sticks mean. It means the two peoples (not scriptures) will be joined as one. They were to be gathered from among the nations where they were scattered.
At this time there was great animosity between the peoples of Israel and Judah. One stick represented Israel, and the other, Judah. This prophesied that the tribes of Israel and Judah would be one people after God has gathered His people from the nations. The two sticks could not be the Bible and the Book of Mormon for the following reasons.
1. The sticks refer to two peoples, not books in Ezekiel 37:18b-20
2. When they are joined, David will reign over them in Ezekiel 37:24.
3. They will be joined when they live in the land of their ancestors in Ezekiel 37:25.
4. Finally, The Book of Mormon cannot be referred to here, as it is full of falsehoods, including a complete American civilization of which no archaeological evidence has been found. For example, ask any honest Mormon archaeologist where any city mentioned in the Book of Mormon is located, and they will tell you they have not found it yet. How many decades will go by, and how many towns of the Incas, Chimus, Aztecs, Mayans, etc. do we have to discover before concluding the cities in the Book of Mormon will never be found, because they never existed?
See the Complete Book of Bible Answers p.331-332, When Cultists Ask p.86, and a transcript of the Hank Hanegraaff's 8/7/1998 Bible Answer Man radio program (sponsored by the Christian Research Institute) for more info.
Q: In Ezek 38:2; 39:1,11, what is Gog?
A: Some scholars say this refers to Russia. but others are not so sure.
Gog the same word as Gyges/Gugu, a king of Lydia in modern-day Turkey. In the Old Testament the word is only used here and in 1 Chronicles 5:4
Others remote possibilities for Gog are
Gagu, a ruler of the land of Sakhi north of Assyria, in modern-day Russia, Azerbaijan, and/or Armenia.
The Sumerian word for darkness is Gug.
Gomer, mentioned in Genesis 10:2 right before Magog, was powerful people the Assyrians called the Gimirai, whom historians today know as the Cimmerians of southern Russia. They conquered Armenia, weakened Meshech and Tubal, and settled in northern modern-day Turkey according to Herodotus (4:12). The Scythians and the Cimmerians raided Palestine in 650 B.C. The Scythians invaded the Medes in Iran in 653 B.C., before the Medes drove them out in 625 B.C. Even later the Scythians were a force to be reckoned with. In 130 B.C. the Parthians, Scythians, Sakas (Kushan) and Tochari (=Tukharians = Yueh-Chih) combined to overrun Bactria and southern Russia.
Gog and Magog cannot be Alexander the Great, because Alexander and his army did not meet their end upon the mounts in Ezekiel 39:4. See the New International Bible Commentary p.839 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.6 p.929 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 38-39, who are Gog and Magog?
A: Magog, Tubal, and Meshech are first mentioned in Genesis 10:2. Ezekiel 38:1 probably refers to the same event with Gog and Magog in Revelation 20:8. This was the Great Battle in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, at the end of the Millennium. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.316-317 and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.189 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 38-39, why would God bring Gog and Magog against Israel?
A: Ezekiel 38:16,23; 39:7 says that this will be done to bring glory to God. God will have these wicked people choose to invade Israel, and God will display His glory as He protects Israel.
Q: In Ezek 38:4 did God lead Gog and Magog to invade Israel, or did Satan lead them in Rev 20:7-8? (Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.594 thought this was a contradiction)
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
1. From Ezekiel 38:10-11, Gog and Magog would devise an evil plan, prepare, and apparently believe it was only they themselves that had decided this. Actually, they were summoned to do this (Ezekiel 38:8).
2. It specifically says that God will turn them from their home in the north to come against Israel. Then God will destroy them (Ezekiel 38:4; 39:2-3).
3. God Himself does not tempt people (James 1:13). Rather, the means that God will use is to have Satan deceive Gog and Magog, according to Revelation 20:7-8.
4. This concept, of God using the evil of men and Satan to accomplish things that are a part of His plan, is called the doctrine of "concurrency" by theologians. Probably the clearest example of this truth is Genesis 50:20, when Joseph spoke to his brothers about their enslaving him. Joseph said, "Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good,...". Another example of concurrency is Judas betraying Jesus; it was a part of God's definite plan and foreknowledge (Acts 2:23). Also, there was God using Satan to incite David to pridefully number Israel in 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1.
Q: In Ezek 38:4-6, 39:3,9, why does it mention horses, shields, and swords?
A: In this symbolic prophecy of the future, readers of that time would not understand tanks and other weapons. One could think of this as vehicles, armor, and weapons.
Q: In Ezek 38:6, where is the location of Togarmah?
A: Beth Togarmah means House of Togarmah. Togarmah was a kingdom 70 miles west of Malatya. The Hittites called it Tegarama. The Assyrians called it Tilgarimanu, and the conquered it in 695 B.C. The Greeks called it Gauraena. The Armenians claim they descended from Haik, a son of Torgom. Another, remote possibility is that Togarmah is the Tochari, also called the Tukharians, who were the Yueh-Chih. There is some speculation, but no support except similarity of names, that this is Tobolsk in Russia. It has a population of about100,000 and is the capital of Siberia. See the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1721 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 38:16b,23; 39:7; 39:21; Ex 9:16; Rom 9:17, how does bringing enemies against Israel bring glory to God?
A: These people were already against God, and them coming against Israel would both bring them to judgment, and show that God defends them.
Q: In Ezek 38:22, what could torrents of rain, hailstones, and burning sulfur mean?
A: This could be natural rain, hailstones, and sulfur sent by God, or this picture could refer to a future battle, with a mortars raining down on them, bombs, and a hail of bullets.
Q: In Ezek 39:1-2,6, who are Magog, Meshech, and Tubal?
A: Magog, Tubal, and Meshech are first mentioned as sons of Japheth in Genesis 10:2. Meshech is also a son of Aram, a son of Shem in Genesis 10:23. The historian Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews book 1 ch.123.6.1 says that Magog was the Scythians, who lived in Russia. Madai, listed right next to Magog, is the Medes, who were known to be close kin to the Scythians. The NIV Study Bible p.20 says that Tubal and Meshech are not related to Tobolsk and Moscow in Russia, but rather, Tubal, Meshech, and Magog are all mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions. Magog the people is also mentioned in 1 Chronicles 1:5; however, Magog is a person in Revelation 20:8. Meshech might be from the Moschian mountains. It says that Tiras might possibly be Thrace.
Q: In Ezek 39:1-6, when will this battle be?
A: Ezekiel 38:1 probably refers to the same event with Gog and Magog in Revelation 20:8. This was the Great Battle in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, at the end of the Millennium. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.316-317 and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.189 for more info.
The Believer's Bible Commentary p.1063 thinks that the battle of God here is after Israel returns but before the Millennium.
Interestingly, it is important here that not only that the enemy be defeated, but that even the bones be removed.
Q: In Ezek 39:9-10, why does it mention burning, bows, arrows, and other weapons for fuel?
A: Bows and arrows could be translated as launchers and projectiles. Horses in Ezekiel 38:4 literally means "leapers" See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1064 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 39:16, how do you pronounce "Hamonah"?
A: It is pronounced as "ha-MO-na" with a dot above each "a" and a long "o", and the accent on the second syllable according to The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.748.
Q: In Ezek 40, what is the point of measuring all of this?
A: While the book of Ezekiel has many warnings and rebukes, this is a section of future hope. It is both certain and very specific. These measurements are not meaningless, but they are physical dimensions emphasis the concreteness of this hope. This refers to a physical temple, with real physical measurements, that will exist during the Millennium.
Q: In Ezek 40:1, when was the beginning of the year?
A: From the time of Exodus on, the Israelite year started in Nisan, which is our April or May. However, around this time the seventh month of Tishri (October-November) became the first month of the civil calendar. So it is either in Nisan or Tishri. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1304 and The NIV Study Bible p.1283 for more info.
Q: Could this temple be one that is already built?
A: No. The dimensions and layout of this temple are different than Solomon's temple, Zerubbabel's temple, and Herod's reconstruction of Zerubbabel's temple. Those temples did not have any river flowing out of them either. The geography of the promised land would have to change to match what is in Ezekiel. However, this is not just symbolic either, as the high level of detail would be meaningless if it was only symbolic. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.6 p.942-943 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 40-48 is this a Millennial temple?
A: Yes. This entire section has not been fulfilled on earth yet. Christians have two very different interpretations.
Amillennialists believe there is no Millennium, and the thousand year period in Revelation 20:1-7 is all spiritualized by them to refer to Heaven. They would say that this temple refers to aspects of Heaven. As a note, many in the early church were amillennialists, including Eusebius of Caesarea (flourished 325 A.D.)
Premillennialists say there is a 1,000 year Millennial period on earth, and this temple will exist during that time. As a note, Eusebius says one of the first post-New Testament church writer that was a "chiliast" (believing in a literal 1,000 year millennium) was Papias, a disciple of John the apostle.
Some think this could be the temple built in the Millennium, and surviving after the millennium. Both have twelve gates, with the patriarchs on the gates, an angel with a measuring rod, and water flowing towards the east. However, there are differences in dimensions. In Ezekiel 47:15-20 the sea is a boundary, while in Revelation 21:1 there is no longer any sea. So it is safe to say that the temple described here is for the millennium, and it is unclear whether the template in Revelation 21 is this temple with changes or a totally new temple.
Q: In Ezek 40:38,42, and Ezek 43:20-22, why will the future temple still have animal sacrifices of the old covenant, since Heb 10:12-18 says that Jesus once and for all made sacrifice for sin, and there is no longer any offering for sin?
A: First of all, this question is not limited to Ezekiel, but to the entire doctrine throughout the Old Testament of bloody sacrifices after the Lord comes. We will observe what the verses say, and then give an answer.
While there was a temple built after this prophecy when the Jews returned, and Herod restored the temple, the temple layout here shows that this prophesy has not been fulfilled yet.
Ezekiel 40:38-42 mentions the room where the burnt offerings are washed.
Ezekiel 42:13 mentions rooms where the priests will eat the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings.
Ezekiel 43:20-22 tells of a bull and a male goat will be sacrificed as sin offerings to make atonement for the altar.
Isaiah 56:7; 66:20 mention that people of other nations will come to Jerusalem to make sacrifices, too.
In Jeremiah 33:18, God promised that the Levites would never fail to have a man to offer burnt offerings.
Other verses discussed later include Isaiah 66:21; Jeremiah 33:18; Malachi 3:3-4; and Zechariah 14:16-19.
Multiple people are doing this, and it is not Christ who is making these offerings, which are pleasing to God.
Premillennialist Gleason Archer in Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.280-281 mentions that it is hard to consider this just a "spiritual temple" as this section contains even more detailed specifics than those of the first temple in 1 Kings 6-7. However, they have to explain why animal sacrifices come when Hebrews 10:18 says there will no longer be any sacrifices.
Hank Hanegraaff on CRI's Bible Answer Man radio program points out that when some Premillennialists say the sacrifices are only for the altar, and not for people, this would seem to deny the all-sufficiency and completeness of Christ's sacrifice in Hebrews 7:24-25; 9:26; 10:10,12,18 and other passages.
Amillennialists do not have to explain why there are animal sacrifices during the Millennium. Rather, they have to explain why there are slaughtered animals and bloody sacrifices for sin and guilt going on in Heaven. However, they can point to Jeremiah 33:18, where God promised that there will never fail to be priests and Levites, to be able to stand before God to offer burnt offerings. Perhaps those who were doing these things on earth, prior to Christ, still will be doing these things in Heaven.
To understand the answer, we have to understand the timing and meaning of the sacrifices and memorials to Christ.
THE ANSWER: Regardless of whether you are a premillennialist or an amillennialist, here is an answer on most of which Christians should be able to agree.
In New Testament times, we can partake in the Lord's Supper, a very important ordinance in remembrance of Jesus, without saying we are in any way taking away from the completeness of His sacrifice (Hebrews 7:24-25, etc.). Likewise having a millennial sacrifice does not try to take away from Christ's sacrifice if it is just a memorial.
In Old Testament times, the sacrifices were not a memorial, but rather a covering of their sin, that did not provide forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 10:3,4). This too did not take away from the completeness of Christ's sacrifice, even for them.
After Christ comes, these sacrifices will occur (Malachi 3:3-4) and continue forever (Jeremiah 33:18).
These sacrifices will be an ordinance: 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.189-190 and 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.304-305 suggest that since we are only to celebrate the Lord's supper "until He comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26), these sacrifices will serve a similar function as communion, and be a memorial to Christ's past act of atonement. Sacrifices looking forward were ordinances under the Old Covenant, communion is one of the ordinances under the New Covenant, and sacrifices, looking back, might be an ordinance after Christ comes. After Jesus comes again, doing these sacrifices as in the prior times is the thought of Malachi 3:3-4. As a side note, sacrifices might not be the only ordinance, and some things formerly for the Jews will be for all people. Some non-Jews will be selected as priests and Levites (Isaiah 66:21). After the great army is destroyed in the end times, Egypt and all the survivors that attacked Jerusalem will need to go to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in Zechariah 14:16-19. They are supposed to do this, because God will not send rain if they do not (Zechariah 14:17). (Amillennialists might not agree with all of this point).
For whatever reason, these people during the Millennium will practice sacrifices and travel up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Booths.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1305-1306, When Critics Ask p.288-290, and the article by Jerry M. Hullinger, "The Function of the Millennial Sacrifices in Ezekiel's Temple, Part 1" in Biblotheca Sacra vol.167 January-March 2010 p.40-57 and the same author, "The Function of the Millennial Sacrifices in Ezekiel's Temple, Part 2" in Biblotheca Sacra vol.167 April-June 2010 p.166-179 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 41:1, what does the Hebrew word mean for what they are measuring?
A: The KJV says "posts", the NKJV says "doorposts". The NET and NIV say "jambs" and the NRSV says "pilasters". These are all the same thing, essentially. The Bible Expositor's Commentary volume 9 p.965 has a map of the Millennial Temple. On the inner wall of the temple are two parts of the wall that project inward as doorposts for the doors.
Q: In Ezek 42:4, how could the passageway be ten cubits wide and one cubit long?
A: There are two possibilities:
Copyist error: While the Hebrew text says 10 by 1, the Septuagint and Syriac read ten cubits wide and 100 cubits long. 100 cubits long is the length of the north side of the building. This is the view of The NIV Study Bible p.1287. The NRSV goes with this translation, and puts the following one in a footnote. The NET translation says dimensions of 10 to 1, with 17.5 feet and 1.75 feet.
Step, not cubit: The Hebrew word here, mahalak, can mean either step or cubit. Thus the passageway would have steps that are ten cubits wide and one cubit lengthwise. This is how the KJV and NKJV translate it.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.967 for more on both views.
Q: In Ezek 43:5, why is it significant that the glory of the Lord filled the house?
A: This is the most important part of the whole Temple. The size and all the beautiful trappings mean nothing if God is not there. Likewise, today all the ornamentals of a religious building mean nothing if the true God is not the center of worship there.
Q: In Ezek 43:9, what is the significance of the dead bodies of their kings?
A: Like many peoples, the people of Judah honored their kings by burying them in a royal cemetery. Examples of this are Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:31), Asa (1 Kings 15:24) Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:50), Jehoram (2 Kings 8:24), Ahaziah (2 Kings 9:28), Joash (2 Kings 12:21), Azariah (2 Kings 15:7), Jotham (2 Kings 15:38), Ahaz (2 Kings 16:20), and so forth. This verse conspicuously mentions that these kings would not be given an honorable burial.
Q: In Ezek 43:17 why are steps to the altar mentioned, since steps were forbidden in Ex 20:26?
A: This is a different altar and temple. A practical reason to forbid steps in the Temple in Old Testament times was embarrassment if someone carrying something tripped and fell. This millennial temple is on a much lager scale, and presumably people will not trip then. See the NIV Study Bible p.1289 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 43:19-27, why is there a sin offering? Do people sin during the Millennium?
A: For some no, and for some yes. Believers are resurrected during the Millennium, and they will not sin anymore. But some people will survive the tribulation and enter the millennium, and people will be born during the millennium. These people can and will still sin.
Q: In Ezek 44:3, could the prince here be the Messiah?
A: No, because in Ezekiel 45:22, the prince provides a bull as a sin offering for himself and the people in the land. He also does the other offerings. The Hebrew word here, nasi, could mean either prince or simply leader. The prince here eats the bread of the presence. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.974 for more info.
Q: In Ezek 44:5-7, why would the glory of the Millennial Temple be given as an encouragement for the Israelites not to sin today?
A: Whatever pleasure sin might appear to offer today, it is only temporary. People will regret their sin afterwards, and during the Millennium and in heaven we will wish we had not done those sins. They will be ashamed of all the evil they have done, according to Ezekiel 43:10-11.
Q: In Ezek 44:7, under what circumstances should we not allow people into our churches?
A: Jesus came to save the lost, and with a few exceptions, we should allow anyone into our churches. Exceptions include:
1. Those that might physically harm others in the church
2. Those that are active in spiritually leading others to Hell (people in cults, etc.)
3. Christians, even genuine Christians, who defiantly refuse to repent of what they know to be sin (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).
Q: In Ezek 44:20 (KJV), what does "poll their heads" mean?
A: This means to cut their hair.
Q: In Ezek 44:22, why could these priests not marry a widow or divorced woman?
A: Leviticus 21:7 says priests could not marry divorced women, but widows are OK. Leviticus 21:13 says that the high priest (and there was only one at a time) could not marry a widow, either. These (multiple) priests all functioned similar to high priests, because they went into the holy of holies.
Q: In Ezek 44:22, why could these priests marry the widow of a priest?
A: Scripture does not say. In Old Testament times, high priests could marry no widows, and regular priests could marry widows. In this future time, these men functioned as the only priests, as well as similar to high priests.
Q: In Ezek 45-48, could this temple be one that is already built?
A: No. The dimensions and layout of this temple are different than Solomon's temple, Zerubbabel's temple, and Herod's reconstruction of Zerubbabel's temple. Those temples did not have any river flowing out of them either. The geography of the promised land would have to change to match what is in Ezekiel. However, this is not just symbolic either, as the high level of detail would be meaningless if it was only symbolic. While there is a Temple in Revelation 11 and Revelation 15, there will be no need for a temple in the New Heaven and New Earth in Revelation 21:22. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.6 p.942-943 for more info.
Also, the rituals here are very similar to the rituals under the Mosaic Law, but there are some differences since Christ's finished work on the cross.
Q: In Ezek 45-48, why would this all be present as a memorial?
A: If someone visits the Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut, or Williamsburg in Virginia, they can have a lot of fun experiencing what is was like to live back then. But while this will be enjoyable for believers too, the purpose is much more than that. God promised that the Levites would never fail to serve before Him in Jeremiah 33:18.
Q: In Ezek 45-48, how would you answer if someone says God is only interested in the big picture, in generalities?
A: You can not only look at the details for the tabernacle in Leviticus, but all of the details here in Ezekiel 40-48.
Q: In Ezek 45:9, when is eviction / dispossession of people wrong?
A: This eviction of Israelites was not being done by foreigners, but by Israel's own princes. Eviction often occurs when tenants do not pay their rent, or a prince, court, or military decides that landowners do not really own their land after all. Eviction of tenants can be unjust if the rents were unjustly too high, interest was charged when it should not have been, or it is unjustly high.
Q: In Ezek 46:1, why are there Sabbaths, New Moons, and festivals of the Mosaic Law, when in Col 2:16 Paul said we don't have to celebrate those?
A: Paul did not actually say they would never be celebrated again. Rather, Paul said in Colossians 2:16-17, "So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbath, which are a shadow of the tings to come, but the substance is of Christ." (NKJV). So Paul is saying we do not need to celebrate those now, though Paul did not forbid us from celebrating them now. They will be celebrated during the Millennium as a memorial.
Q: In Ezek 46:9, why did not one go in or out through the east and west gates of the temple?
A: From Ezekiel 40:20-34, there was no west gate. Ezekiel 40:6-7,32-34; 43:4 says there was a gateway on the east side, There was no west gate. And the east gate was shut, and only the prince could be there according to Ezekiel 44:1-3. The east gate was shut six days a week, and only on the seventh day was it opened, and only the prince could go through it, according to Ezekiel 46:2.
Q: In Ezek 46:9, why would people entering the outer part of the temple from the south gate have to go out through the north gate, and why would people entering the outer part of the temple from the north have to go out through the south gate?
A: God is more concerned about people's experience in the temple than in efficiency. A person would have to go through the entire length of the temple.
Q: In Ezek 46:17, will there still be servants or slaves during this Temple?
A: Sure. There will always be servants in Heaven, as well as servants in the Temple, because all believers have chosen to be slaves and servants of God.
Q: In Ezek 47:1, what are these waters here?
A: While we have not been told much about this future Temple, there is nothing to say that these waters are not physical water.
Q: In Ezek 48:9,10,12,18,20 (KJV), what is an oblation?
A: This is an offering or gift.
Q: In Ezek, what are some of the earliest manuscripts that still exist today?
A: Dead Sea scrolls: (c.1 B.C.) 6 separate copies according to the Dead Sea Scrolls Today p.30 and the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.436-438. 3Q1 contains Ezekiel 16:31-33 according to Responses to 101 Questions on the Dead Sea Scrolls p.22.
1Q9 (=1QEzek) two fragments of 4:16-5:1
3Q1 (=3QEzek) Ezekiel 16:31-33
4Q73 (=4QEzek) five fragments: Ezekiel 10:6-11:1; parts of 23:14-15; 23:17-18; 23:44-47; 41:3-6
4Q74 (=4QEzek(b)) has Ezek 1:10-13,16-17,19-24
4Q75 (=4QEzek(c)) has 24:2-3
11Q4 (=11QEzek) has 4:3-6; 5:11-17; 7:9,11-12; 10:11; 13:17
Masada Mas1d (=MasEzek) has fragments from Ezekiel 31:11-37:15
Overall, preserved in the Dead Sea scrolls and Masada are the following verses from Ezekiel: 1:10-13, 16-17, 19-24; 4:3-6,16-17; 5:1,11-17; 7:9,11-12; 10:6-22; 11:1-11; 13:17; 16:31,33; 23:14-18,44-47; 24:2-3; fragments of 31:11-37:15; 41:3-6. See The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls for more details.
The Chester Beatty-Schiede Ezekiel papyrus is from the first half of the third century A.D., according to Bruce Metzger's Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.32.
Chester Beatty IX-X (Scheide Papyrii 1) contains Ezekiel, Daniel, and Esther. It is dated the third century A.D. It originally had 118 leaves, of which 109 survive today. For more info and a photograph of Ezekiel 31:8-15 see Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.70-71.
Christian Bible manuscripts, from about 350 A.D., contain the Old Testament, including Ezekiel. The Chester Beatty IX Papyrii (2nd-4th century A.D.) contain Ezekiel according to The Compete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.101 and The Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge p.746. Also, the same source says the John H. Scheide Biblical Papyri are dated to the 3rd century A.D. and contain Ezekiel 19:12-39:29.
Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.) contains all of Ezekiel.
There are no leaves of Ezekiel in Sinaiticus.
Alexandrinus (c.450 A.D.) contains all of Ezekiel.
Q: Which early writers referred to Ezekiel?
A: Pre-Nicene writers who referenced or alluded to verses in Ezekiel are:
Clement of Rome (96/98 A.D.) quotes Ezekiel 33:11 and 18:30. 1 Clement ch.8 p.7
Epistle of Barnabas (100-150 A.D.) ch.6 p.141 quotes Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26 as he [the Lord] says by another prophet.
Epistle of Barnabas (100-150 A.D.) ch.11 p.144 quotes Ezekiel 47:12.
2 Clement (c.150 A.D.) vol.7 ch.6 p.518 (also vol.9 p.252) "For thus also saith the Scripture in Ezekiel, 'If Noah, Job, and Daniel should rise up, they should not deliver their children in captivity.'"
Justin Martyr (c.138-165 A.D.) quotes Ezekiel 20:19-26 as by Ezekiel in Dialogue with Trypho the Jew ch.21 p.204-205
Justin Martyr (c.138-165 A.D.) quotes or paraphrases Ezekiel 3:17-19; 11:22; 14:18,20; 16:3; 18:20; 20:12; 20:19-26 (by Ezekiel), 33:11-20; 34:12; 37:7,8; 44:3
Meleto/Melito of Sardis (170-177/180 A.D.) listed Ezekiel among the books of the Old Testament in his letter to Onesimus. On Pascha p.72. Preserved in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History book 4 ch.26.
Meleto/Melito of Sardis (170-177/180 A.D.) "In the prophet: 'I will walk in them, and will be their Lord.'" (reference to Ezekiel 37:27) From The Key ANF vol.8 p.762.
Christians of Vienna and Lugdunum (Lyons) (177 A.D.) alludes to Ezekiel 18:23,32. "while that God who wishes not the death of the sinner, but mercifully calls to repentance, put sweetness into their souls." vol.8 p.782
Theophilus of Antioch (168-181/188 A.D.) "And another prophet, Ezekiel, says: "If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all My statutes, and do that which is right in My sight, he shall surely live, he shall not die." Theophilus to Autolycus book 3 ch.11 p.114
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) quotes Ezekiel 20:24 as by Ezekiel. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 4 ch.15.1 p.479
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) says "Scripture admonishes" and quotes Jeremiah 3:9, etc.). Then Clement writes, "He [God] notwithstanding exhorts them to repentance, and says by Ezekiel," and quotes Ezekiel 2:6-7. The Instructor book 1 ch.9 p.228
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) quotes Ezekiel 18:4-9 as by Ezekiel. The Instructor book 1 ch.10 p.233
Clement of Alexandria (193-205 A.D.) "Jeremiah and Ambacum [Habakkuk] were still prophesying in the time of Zedekiah. In the fifth year of his reign Ezekiel prophesied at Babylon; after him Nahum, then Daniel. After him, again, Haggai and Zechariah prophesied in the time of Darius the First for two years; and then the angel among the twelve." Stromata book 1 ch.21 p.328
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) "Ezekiel announces your ruin as about to come: and not only in this age -a ruin which has already befallen-but in the 'day of retribution,' which will be subsequent. From which ruin none will be freed but he who shall have been frontally sealed with the passion of the Christ whom you have rejected." An Answer to the Jews ch.11 p.167
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) quotes continuously Ezekiel 8:12-9:6a as "Ezekiel announces". An Answer to the Jews ch.11 p.167-168.
Tertullian's Five Books Against Marcion (207/208 A.D.) book 2 ch.10 p.305-306 quotes Ezekiel 28:11-16 from the Septuagint.
Hippolytus (222-235/236 A.D.) "Ezekiel also speaks of him to the same effect, thus: 'Thus saith the Lord God, Because thine heart is lifted up,'" Treatise on Christ and Antichrist ch.18 p.208
Hippolytus (222-235/6 A.D.) fragment 3 is a commentary on Ezekiel. p.176
Origen (225-254 A.D.) "'And, to compare history with history, I would say to the Jew, 'Even your own Ezekiel writes, saying, 'The heavens were opened, and I saw a vision of God.'" Origen Against Celsus book 1 ch.43 p.414
Novatian (250/254-256/7 A.D.) alludes to Ezekiel 1:10 and Revelation 4:7. Treatise Concerning the Trinity ch.8 p.617.
Treatise Against Novatian (250/4-256/7 A.D.) ch.14 p.661 "according to the faith of the Scripture which says, 'but if the wicked will turn from all his sins which he hath committed, and will do righteousness, he shall live in eternal life, and shall not die in his wickedness.'" (Ezekiel 18:21)
Treatise Against Novatian (250/4-256/7 A.D.) ch.10 p.660 quotes Ezekiel 38:10,11 as by Ezekiel.
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) quotes from "Ezekiel" in Treatise 12 the third book 48.
Firmilian of Caesarea to Cyprian (256 A.D.) "For the grace of God is mighty to associate and join together in the bond of charity and unity even those things which seem to be divided by a considerable space of earth, according to the way in which of old also the divine power associated in the bond of unanimity Ezekiel and Daniel, though later in their age, and separated from them by a long space of time, to Job and Noah, who were among the first; so that although they were separated by long periods, yet by divine inspiration they felt the same truths." Letters of Cyprian Letter 74.3 p.390
Dionysius of Alexandria (246-256 A.D.) alludes to Ezekiel 18:23,32. Letter 3 to Fabius bishop of Antioch ch.10 p.100
Victorinus of Petau (martyred 304 A.D.) "I remember, indeed, that this is called Babylon also in the Apocalypse, on account of confusion; and in Isaiah also; and Ezekiel called it Sodom." Commentary on the Apocalypse from the Fifteenth Chapter v.3 p.357
Victorinus of Petau (martyred 304 A.D.) alludes to Ezekiel 35:6. "And blood went out from the wine-presses, even unto the horse-bridles.'] The vengeance of shed blood, as was before predicted, 'In blood thou hast sinned, and blood shall follow thee.'" Commentary on the Apocalypse from the Fourteenth Chapter v.19,20 p.357
Methodius of Olympus and Patara (270-311/312 A.D.) alludes to Ezekiel 17:3. "which the Word called the 'wings of a great eagle.'" The Banquet of the Ten Virgins Discourse 8 ch.12 p.339
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) alludes to Ezekiel 41. "Therefore, when God wished to send to the earth one who should measure His temple, He was unwilling to send him with heavenly power and glory, ..." The Divine Institutes book 4 ch.11 p.110
Athanasius (367 A.D.) lists the books of the Old Testament in Paschal Letter 39 ch.4 p.552.
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.) refers to Ezekiel 11:5 as in Ezekiel. Catechetical Lectures Lecture 16.30 p.123
Pacian of Barcelona (342-379/392 A.D.) quotes Ezekiel 18:4 as by Ezekiel. Letter 3 ch.3 p.42
Didymus the blind (398 A.D.) quotes Ezekiel 31:3-9 as by the prophet Ezekiel. Commentary on Zechariah 11 p.258-259
Epiphanius of Salamis (360-403 A.D.) mentions the books of the Old Testament, including Ruth in his Panarion.
John Chrysostom (-407 A.D.) refers to Ezekiel 9:4 as by Ezekiel in vol.9 Concerning the Statues Homily 18.9 p.462
Jerome (373-420 A.D.) discusses the books of the Old Testament. He specifically discusses Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, the Pentateuch, Job, Jesus son of Nave [Joshua], Judges, Ruth, Samuel Kings (2 books), twelve prophets, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai,, Zechariah, Malachi, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Letter 53 ch.7-8 p.99-101.
Sulpitius Severus (363-420 A.D.) refers to Ezekiel as by Ezekiel in History book 2 ch.3 p.98
Augustine of Hippo (338-430 A.D.) mentions Daniel and Ezekiel in The City of God book 17 ch.34 p.380
Among heretics and spurious books
The Pelagian Theodore of Mopsuestia (392-423.429 A.D.) quotes Ezekiel 3:17 as by Ezekiel. Commentary on Hosea ch.5 p.60
Q: In Ezek, what are some of the translation differences between the Hebrew and Greek Septuagint?
A: The Septuagint was a translation of the Old Testament into Greek done between 285 and 160 B.C. Different books of the Septuagint were translated with differing quality; Ezekiel was not translated as well as the Pentateuch. The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.960 says, "The LXX [Septuagint] is not a strong witness in the prophetic books, especially Ezekiel." It is interesting to see the Septuagint differences both to see what is different from the Masoretic version and how Jews before Christ interpreted the meaning of the Old Testament as they translated it into another language. Unless otherwise noted, the first alternative is the Masoretic text, and the second the Greek Septuagint.
Ezek 1:1 "visions" (Masoretic, Septuagint, Vulgate) vs. "a vision" (Syriac, Targums)
Ezek 1:20 "living creature was in the wheels" (Masoretic) vs. "spirit of life was in the wheels" (Septuagint, Vulgate) vs. "creatures were in the wheels" (Targum)
Ezek 1:22 "living creature" vs. "living creatures" (Septuagint, Targums, Vulgate)
Ezek 4:9 "390 days" (all Hebrew manuscripts) vs. "190 days" (Septuagint)
Ezek 5:7 "You have not even conformed" vs. "you have conformed" (in some Hebrew and the Syriac) vs. "raged" (Masoretic, Septuagint, Targums, Vulgate)
Ezek 5:15 "So it shall be a reproach" (Masoretic) vs. "So you shall be a reproach" (Septuagint, Syriac, Targums, Vulgate)
Ezek 6:14 "Diblah" vs. "Riblah" in a few Hebrew manuscripts.
Ezek 7:5 "An unheard-of disaster" vs. "disaster after disaster" in some Hebrew manuscripts and the Syriac.
Ezek 11:5 "your kindred/blood relatives" vs. "in exile with you" (Septuagint and Syriac)
Ezek 12:12 "they shall dig" vs. "he shall dig" (Septuagint, Syriac)
Ezek 13:18 "their wrists" (Masoretic, Syriac, Targum) vs. "my hands" (Septuagint, Vulgate, Symmachus). The New Geneva Study Bible p.1272 says "over all the joints of my hands" (Masoretic) vs. "under every elbow" (Vulgate) vs. "on all elbows of the hands" (Septuagint, Targums)
Ezek 14:14 and Ezek 28:3 "Daniel" vs. "Danel"
Ezek 16:6 "Live! And as you lay there in your blood I said to you, 'Live!'" (most Hebrew manuscripts) vs. "Live!" (Septuagint, Syriac, and a few Hebrew manuscripts)
Ezek 16:6 "live! I made you a multitude/myriad" vs. Live! And grow up" (Septuagint, Syriac)
Ezek 16:15 one Hebrew manuscript and some Septuagint manuscripts add "Such a thing should not happen." (NIV) or the Hebrew adds "let it be his" (NRSV)
Ezek 16:43 "were agitated with me" (Masoretic) vs. "agitated Me [God]" (Septuagint, Syriac, Targums, Vulgate)
Ezek 16:57 "Aram/Syria" (Masoretic, Septuagint, Targums, Vulgate) vs. "Edom" (Syriac and some Hebrew manuscripts)
Ezek 17:7 "one great eagle" (Masoretic, Targums) vs. "another great eagle" (Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate)
Ezek 17:21 "All his fugitives" (Masoretic, Vulgate); "All his choice men" (many Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac" vs. "All his mighty men" (Targums) vs. omit (Septuagint)
Ezek 18:2 Septuagint adds "son of man", and says "among the children of Israel" instead of "about/about the land of Israel." and "unripe grapes" instead of "sour grapes"
Ezek 18:5 "a righteous man who does what is just and right" (Masoretic) vs. "who shall be just, who executes judgment and righteousness" (Septuagint)
Ezek 18:7 "does not commit robbery" (Masoretic) vs. "guilty of no plunder" (Septuagint)
Ezek 18:10 "violent son ... things to a brother" (Masoretic) vs. "mischevous/pestilent son ... "committing sin" (Septuagint)
Ezek 18:17 "withholds his hand from the poor" (Masoretic, Targums, Vulgate) vs. "withholds his hand from sin/iniquity" (Septuagint)
Ezek 18:14 Septuagint adds "and fear (phobos)" right before "not doing these things" (Masoretic) vs. "not doing these things and fear (phobos)" (Septuagint) vs. "not doing these things and consider" (KJV)
Ezek 18:24 "Shall he live?" (Masoretic) vs. [absent] (Septuagint)
Ezek 18:17 "the poor" vs. "iniquity"
Ezek 18:25 "O house of Israel" (Masoretic) vs. "all the house of Israel" (Septuagint)
Ezek 18:25 "just/fair/equal" (Masoretic) vs. "straight" (Septuagint)
Ezek 18:26 "for it" (Masoretic) vs. "in it" (Septuagint)
Ezek 18:29 "right" (Masoretic) versus "just" vs. "right" (Septuagint)
Ezek 18:30 "downfall" (Masoretic) vs. "punishment of iniquity" (Septuagint)
Ezek 18:32 "Repent and live!" vs. absent in the Septuagint
Ezekiel 18:31 "a new heart and a new spirit" (Hebrew, Septuagint) vs. "a fearing heart and a spirit of fear" (Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel)
Ezek 19:7 "He [God] knew their strongholds" (Hebrew) vs. "He [God] broke down their strongholds" (Targum, see also Septuagint)
Ezek 19:7 "learned to make widows" (Masoretic, Vulgate) vs. "destroyed strongholds" (Targums), vs. "stood in insolence" (Septuagint)
Ezek 19:10 "in our blood" (Masoretic, Syriac, Vulgate) vs. "vineyard" (two Hebrew manuscripts and the Septuagint) vs. "like a flower on a pomegranate tree" (some Septuagint) vs. "in your likeness" (Targums)
Ezek 21:4 "righteous and wicked" vs. "unrighteous and wicked"
Ezek 21:15 "wrapped up for slaughter" (Masoretic) vs. "polished for slaughter" (Targums)
Ezek 22:16 "you have been defiled" (Masoretic) vs. "I have been defiled" (many manuscripts)
Ezek 22:24 "has been cleansed" (Masoretic, Syriac, Vulgate) vs. "has had rain/showered upon" (Septuagint)
Ezek 22:25 "conspiracy of her prophets" (Masoretic, Vulgate) vs. "conspiracy of her princes" (Septuagint) vs. "conspiracy of her scribes" (Targums)
Ezek 22:25 "indignation" vs. "princes"
Ezek 23:21 "because" (Masoretic) vs. "fondle" (Syriac and Vulgate) (1 consonant and 1 vowel difference in the Hebrew)
Ezek 23:24 The Hebrew for the word translated "weapons" is uncertain. The Septuagint has "from the north"
Ezek 24:11 "set the empty pot" (Masoretic) vs. "set the pot" (Septuagint)
Ezek 24:14 "They will judge" (Masoretic) vs. "I will judge" (Septuagint, Syriac, Targums, Vulgate)
Ezek 26:1 "eleventh year" (Masoretic) vs. "twelfth year" (Septuagint) The context is future, so the Masoretic is correct here.
Ezek 26:7 spelling of Nebuchadrezzar (original transliteration in some Masoretic) vs. Nebuchadnezzar (westernized Aramaic form in other Masoretic)
Ezek 26:12 "they" vs. "he" two times.
Ezek 26:13 "I [God]" vs. "he"
Ezek 26:20 "I will give beauty/glory" vs. "have a place / take your place"
Ezek 27:15 "Dedan" in the Hebrew vs. "Rhodes" in the Greek Septuagint.
Ezek 27:16 "Aram [Syria]" (most Hebrew) vs. "Edom" (some Hebrew and Syriac)
Ezek 27:19 "traversing back and forth" (Masoretic) vs. "from Uzal" [We do not know of a place called Uzal] (Septuagint, Syriac)
Ezek 28:13 The Hebrew word for "mountings" has uncertain meaning.
Ezek 28:13 The Masoretic text and Septuagint have some different names for stones.
Ezek 28:16 "they filled" (a few Masoretic texts) vs. "you filled" (Septuagint, Syriac)
Ezek 29:7a "shoulders" (Masoretic, Vulgate) vs. "hand" (Septuagint, Syriac)
Ezek 29:7b "stand" vs. "unsteady/wrenched" (Syriac, see also Septuagint and Vulgate)
Ezek 29:7 "with your hand" (Masoretic) vs. "with your hands" (Septuagint, Syriac)
Ezek 30:5 "mixed company / Arabia" (consonants are the same) in the Masoretic text vs. "Arabia (Syriac) vs. "Libians?" (Septuagint)
Ezek 30:18 "refrained" (Masoretic) vs. "darkened" (many Hebrew manuscripts, BG, Septuagint, Syriac, Targums, Vulgate)
Ezek 31:10 "you towered" vs. "it towered" (Syriac)
Ezek 32:1 "twelfth year" (Masoretic) vs. "eleventh year" (13 Hebrew manuscripts and the Septuagint)
Ezek 32:9 "bring your destruction" vs. "carry you captive / carry you into captivity"
Ezek 32:17 (absent) vs. "in the first month"
Ezek 33:25-26 In Masoretic text and Alexandrine Septuagint, but not in other Septuagint
Ezek 34:16 "I will destroy" (Masoretic) vs. "I will guard / watch over" (Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate)
Ezek 37:23 "dwelling-places/settlements in which they have sinned" (Masoretic) vs. "transgressions in which they have fallen" (Septuagint, Symmachus). (one letter different "w" to "s"). The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.6 p.928 says that their backsliding fits the context better here.
Ezek 38:2 "the prince of Rosh" (Masoretic) vs. "the chief prince of Meschech" (Targums, Vulgate, Aquila). Ditto for Ezek 38:2 and Ezek 39:1
Ezek 38:12 "your hand" (Masoretic and one copy of the Septuagint) vs. "my hand" (rest of the Septuagint)
Ezek 38:13 "all her young lions" (Masoretic) vs. all their villages" (Septuagint, Theodotion, Syriac)
Ezek 40:2 "south" (Masoretic) vs. "opposite" (Septuagint) (one stroke difference in the Hebrew)
Ezek 40:6 "deep/wide and one threshold one rod/reed deep/wide" vs. "deep/wide"
Ezek 40:8 "from the house / one rod" (most Hebrew) vs. absent (20 Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac, Vulgate) (3 words)
Ezek 40:8,9 "measured" vs. "made/was"
Ezek 40:14a "measured" vs. "made/was"
Ezek 40:14b "projecting wall" (Hebrew) vs. "portico" (Septuagint)
Ezek 40:14c The meaning is uncertain for the Hebrew word translated as "courtyard". The Septuagint translates this as "chambers".
Ezek 40:30 the entire verse vs. (absent) (a few Hebrew manuscripts and the Septuagint)
Ezek 40:37 "[door] jambs" (Hebrew) vs. "protico" (Septuagint)
Ezek 40:38-40 "portico of the gate" vs. "porticoes of the gates" (Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 p.960)
Ezek 40:44 "room for singers" (Masoretic) vs. "two rooms" (Septuagint)
Ezek 40:44 "the east" (Masoretic) vs. "the south" (Septuagint)
Ezek 40:48 (absent) (Masoretic) vs. "fourteen cubits, and the projecting walls of the door" (Septuagint) (duplicate information)
Ezek 41:1 "ten cubits wide and one cubits long" vs. "ten cubits wide and 100 cubits long" (Septuagint, Syriac)
Ezek 41:22 "two cubits long" (Hebrew) vs. "two cubits square" (Septuagint)
Ezek 42:4 "one" (Masoretic) vs. "one hundred" (Septuagint, Syriac). If it were "one", then the step would be ten cubits wide and one cubit long! So we are confident in the Septuagint and Syriac here.
Ezek 42:10 "east side" (Hebrew) vs. "south side" (Septuagint)
Ezek 42:16 "one" (many Masoretic texts) vs. "one hundred" (many Hebrew manuscripts, Qere reading)
Ezek 42:17, 18, 19 "five hundred rods" (Hebrew) vs. "five hundred cubits" (Septuagint)
Ezek 43:3 "when I came" (most Hebrew manuscripts) vs. "when he [God] came" (a few Hebrew manuscripts, Theodotion, Vulgate) Based on the context we can be confident it is the second variant "he [God]"
Ezek 43:7 "in their high places" vs. "in their death" (Some Hebrew manuscripts, Theodotion, the Targum) (one letter difference in Hebrew)
Ezek 43:11 "regulations and its whole design" (most Hebrew) vs. "its whole design and all its regulations" (some Hebrew and the Septuagint)
Ezek 43:26 "fill its hands" (Masoretic) vs. "themselves" (Septuagint, Syriac)
Ezek 45:1 "ten thousand" (Masoretic) vs. "twenty thousand" (Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate). The Masoretic text is probably wrong here.
Ezek 45:5 "twenty chambers" (Masoretic, Targums, Vulgate) vs. "town to live [in]" (Septuagint)
Ezek 47:15 "Israel. You will measure to the eastern sea" (Masoretic) vs. "Israel, to the eastern sea and as far as Tamar. " (Septuagint and Syriac)
Ezek 47:18 "to measure" (Masoretic) vs. "towards Tamar" (Septuagint, Syriac)
Bibliography for this question: the Hebrew translation is from Jay P. Green's Literal Translation and the Septuagint rendering is from Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton's translation of The Septuagint : Greek and English. The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 6 and the footnotes in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, and NRSV Bibles also were used.
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