Ezekiel 12-13

Thursday Evening Bible Study

August 25, 2005

Ezekiel 12

:1-7 Ezekiel plays captive

:1  Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

You can see the specific prophesies of Ezekiel all starting with this phrase.

If you’re studying and outlining the book of Ezekiel, this is the phrase that tips you off to a new section.

:2 "Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.

:3 "Therefore, son of man, prepare your belongings for captivity, and go into captivity by day in their sight. You shall go from your place into captivity to another place in their sight. It may be that they will consider, though they are a rebellious house.

Ezekiel was to put together a backpack of clothes and look as if he was fleeing into captivity.  He would do this two different times.  The first time he was to do it in the daytime which would remind the people in Babylon of the time when they had to pack up their belongings and were taken into captivity to Babylon.

:4 "By day you shall bring out your belongings in their sight, as though going into captivity; and at evening you shall go in their sight, like those who go into captivity.

:5 "Dig through the wall in their sight, and carry your belongings out through it.

:6 "In their sight you shall bear them on your shoulders and carry them out at twilight; you shall cover your face, so that you cannot see the ground, for I have made you a sign to the house of Israel."

:7 So I did as I was commanded. I brought out my belongings by day, as though going into captivity, and at evening I dug through the wall with my hand. I brought them out at twilight, and I bore them on my shoulder in their sight.

The second time Ezekiel did the backpack act was at night, to demonstrate a different kind of captivity coming.  The one about to happen in Jerusalem.

:8-16 The message of the play

:8 And in the morning the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

:9 "Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, 'What are you doing?'

God wants to know if Ezekiel had gotten the people’s attention with this act he had put on.

:10 "Say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "This burden concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel who are among them."'

:11 "Say, 'I am a sign to you. As I have done, so shall it be done to them; they shall be carried away into captivity.'


Being a sign

Ezekiel was a “sign” to the people.  His life was often an illustration of some truth that God was trying to get through to the people.
The Bible tells us that we are God’s letter
(2 Cor 3:1-3 NASB)  Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? {2} You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; {3} being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.

It has been said that we are the only Bible that some people will ever read.


Keith Miller, in his book, A Second Touch, tells of a business man who one night turned his life over to Jesus Christ.  After struggling along on his own strength, the next morning he was late for his train. In his hurry, he bumped into a small boy with a puzzle in his hand, scattering the puzzle pieces across the sidewalk. Instead of rushing on, he stopped, stooped down and helped pick up the puzzle while the train moved out of the station.  After he had finished, the little lad looked up into his face and asked, “Mister, are you Jesus?”  Then said the man, “I realized that at least in some small way, Christ truly was in my heart.”  What witness of Christ shows through your life?

It’s important that your “walk” matches your “talk”.
Paul wrote,
(2 Cor 4:6-7 NLT)  For God, who said, "Let there be light in the darkness," has made us understand that this light is the brightness of the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. {7} But this precious treasure--this light and power that now shine within us--is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.

What kind of message does your life give?  What do they “read” when they see your life?

:12 "And the prince who is among them shall bear his belongings on his shoulder at twilight and go out. They shall dig through the wall to carry them out through it. He shall cover his face, so that he cannot see the ground with his eyes.

:13 "I will also spread My net over him, and he shall be caught in My snare. I will bring him to Babylon, to the land of the Chaldeans; yet he shall not see it, though he shall die there.

This second act of backpacks at night was to be a prophecy about the king in Jerusalem.  King Zedekiah would try and escape from Jerusalem through a hole in the wall at night.  He would be captured and then taken before Nebuchadnezzar at the city of Riblah.  Then his sons were killed before him and he was blinded.  He would not “see” Babylon, even though he was going to be taken there.

:14 "I will scatter to every wind all who are around him to help him, and all his troops; and I will draw out the sword after them.

:15 "Then they shall know that I am the LORD, when I scatter them among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries.

:16 "But I will spare a few of their men from the sword, from famine, and from pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the Gentiles wherever they go. Then they shall know that I am the LORD."

There will be a few who will actually make it out of Jerusalem alive.  They will be carrying a message through their lives.

They had a message to bring to the nations – that they were sinners.

We have a message to bring to the nations – that Jesus died for our sins.

:17-20 Message of anxiety

:17 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

:18 "Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink your water with trembling and anxiety.

:19 "And say to the people of the land, 'Thus says the Lord GOD to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the land of Israel: "They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink their water with dread, so that her land may be emptied of all who are in it, because of the violence of all those who dwell in it.

:20 "Then the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall become desolate; and you shall know that I am the LORD."' "

Ezekiel eating and drinking with trembling was giving a picture of the coming things ahead – more fear.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean that your life is going to be free from anxiety.  Being worried and anxious is not necessarily a sin.

But as Christians, God has a way for us to deal with worry and anxiety.

(Phil 4:6-7 NKJV)  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; {7} and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

:21-28 Judgment no longer postponed

:21 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

:22 "Son of man, what is this proverb that you people have about the land of Israel, which says, 'The days are prolonged, and every vision fails'?

Or, “It will never happen …”

They had been hearing for years from Jeremiah about the coming judgment.  Ezekiel had been warning them as well.  The people begin to think it will never happen.

:23 "Tell them therefore, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I will lay this proverb to rest, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel." But say to them, "The days are at hand, and the fulfillment of every vision.

The old saying was going to be put to rest.  Instead people were going to start saying just the opposite.

:24 "For no more shall there be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel.

:25 "For I am the LORD. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass; it will no more be postponed; for in your days, O rebellious house, I will say the word and perform it," says the Lord GOD.'"

:26 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

:27 "Son of man, look, the house of Israel is saying, 'The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off.'

Even those people who believed that Jeremiah and Ezekiel were prophets thought that perhaps their prophecies were for a long time away.  Not so.

:28 "Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "None of My words will be postponed any more, but the word which I speak will be done," says the Lord GOD.'"


God’s procrastination

For some of us, procrastination is a way of life.
Procrastinators Creed...

1. I believe that if anything is worth doing, it would have been done already.

2. I shall never move quickly, except to avoid more work or to find excuses.

3. I will never rush into a job without a lifetime of consideration.

4. I shall meet all of my deadlines directly in proportion to the amount of bodily injury I could expect to receive from missing them.

5. I firmly believe that tomorrow holds the possibility for new technologies, astounding discoveries, and a reprieve from my obligations.

6. I shall never forget that the probability of a miracle, though infinitesimally small, is never exactly zero.

7. If at first I don't succeed, there is always next year.

If we’re not careful, we can fall into the trap that God is the ultimate procrastinator.  After all, why hasn’t Jesus come back yet?
(2 Pet 3:1-15 NKJV)  Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), {2} that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, {3} knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, {4} and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." {5} For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, {6} by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.

People in Peter’s day had been saying that nothing has ever changed since the beginning of creation.  Yet they forgot about the great flood of Noah.

{7} But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. {8} But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. {9} The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

God isn’t procrastinating, He’s just being patient.  He is giving people a chance to come to Jesus.

{10} But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. {11} Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, {12} looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? {13} Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. {14} Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; {15} and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…

We need to be careful to remember that Jesus could come back at any moment.  And that thought should be part of our motivation to want to live a life that pleases God.  It should be part of our motivation to reach this lost world with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Because there will be a day, just like in Ezekiel’s time, when God will no longer put off what He has promised.

Ezekiel 13

:1-16 False Prophets

:1 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

:2 "Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, 'Hear the word of the LORD!'"

There were two kinds of false prophets in the Old Testament:

1. Those that spoke for false gods.  Like those that claimed to speak for Baal, Ashtoreth, etc.

2. Those that claimed to speak for Yahweh, but really just spoke for themselves.  This is the kind that Ezekiel is going to address.

:3 Thus says the Lord GOD: "Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!

They may have claimed to have “seen” something, but because it was just their own imaginations and not a true vision of God, it was “nothing”.

:4 "O Israel, your prophets are like foxes in the deserts.

Foxes will make a home in all kinds of places.  They are perfectly comfortable living among ruins.  The false prophets were also just as comfortable living in a society that was falling apart.

:5 "You have not gone up into the gaps to build a wall for the house of Israel to stand in battle on the day of the LORD.


Real protection

The wall was how a city was protected.
Here the idea of the wall has to do with the morals of the people.  We are “protected” by living the right way.


It’s like the old story of the young man who was talking to his grandfather about safe sex.  “Grandpa,” he said, “What did people use in your day for safe sex?”  The old man held up his left hand and said, “A wedding ring”.

The false prophets weren’t helping the city with their words, but hurting the city.
Bad advice might be well intentioned, but it doesn’t help.
There are sins today like alcoholism, homosexuality, etc., things that need to be dealt with.  But often in our society it is not politically correct to speak out against these things.

Yet patting an alcoholic on the back and trying to make him feel better is not what he needs if he is unwilling to turn from his sin.

It’s not always easy to know what to say to a person.
Job’s friends felt they needed to rebuke him.  They felt that his troubles must have been due to some sort of secret sin.  Yet they were wrong in doing so.
But there are also times when people we know are going through hard times because they are in some sort of sin.

And sometimes they need to hear the cold, hard, truth.

It’s the best protection for them.

:6 "They have envisioned futility and false divination, saying, 'Thus says the LORD!' But the LORD has not sent them; yet they hope that the word may be confirmed.

:7 "Have you not seen a futile vision, and have you not spoken false divination? You say, 'The LORD says,' but I have not spoken."

Don’t you hate it when somebody tries to represent you and say things that you don’t want them to say?

:8 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Because you have spoken nonsense and envisioned lies, therefore I am indeed against you," says the Lord GOD.

:9 "My hand will be against the prophets who envision futility and who divine lies; they shall not be in the assembly of My people, nor be written in the record of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

These false prophets were going to pay a high price.  They were basically going to be cut off from the nation, forgotten, and never coming back.

:10 "Because, indeed, because they have seduced My people, saying, 'Peace!' when there is no peace; and one builds a wall, and they plaster it with untempered mortar;

Instead of putting cement in between the bricks, the false prophets built their walls with “whitewash” or paint.  It might look nice, but it won’t hold the wall together.

It makes me think of the dangers that pastors face today in preparing their sermons.

It’s very tempting to stay on the “positive” subjects, the “how to live a prosperous life” topics.  It’s tempting to base a sermon or series on well-meaning psychology.
Psychology isn’t all bad.  There is wisdom in the “study of the soul” (what the word “psychology” means).
But the real help that people need comes from the truth of Scripture.

There are going to be times when modern, popular thinking will conflict greatly with Scripture.  We must stick with the Scriptures.


We saw a movie last week, “Coach Carter”.  It was a movie about a man who decides to coach an inner city high school basketball team.  His goal is to save kids from the ghetto.  He doesn’t want them growing up to go to prison, but to go to college.  A very well meaning movie.  But in the movie one of the high school basketball stars gets his girlfriend pregnant.  By the end of the movie, the girl gets an abortion, and you are brought to think that this is the solution to this girl’s life, keeping her from poverty.

The world teaches that it’s okay to end a baby’s life.  But the world doesn’t tell you about the life of that baby.  The world doesn’t tell you about the huge emotional toll on a woman who has an abortion.

God’s heart is for young men and women to learn to wait until they’re married.  And if they don’t, don’t let the baby pay the consequences for the parents’ sin.  It may be that a young girl is too young to raise a child, but there are plenty of families looking to adopt.

The best way to live your life is to make it line up with the Bible.  Learn to do what Jesus says.

(Mat 7:24-27 NKJV)  "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: {25} "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. {26} "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: {27} "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."

Be sure to build your life on the Scriptures.

:11 "say to those who plaster it with untempered mortar, that it will fall. There will be flooding rain, and you, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall tear it down.

Whitewash was made from Israeli chalk.  It could put a smooth face to a rough, rocky surface, but it couldn’t hold a wall together.

:12 "Surely, when the wall has fallen, will it not be said to you, 'Where is the mortar with which you plastered it?'"

:13 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "I will cause a stormy wind to break forth in My fury; and there shall be a flooding rain in My anger, and great hailstones in fury to consume it.

:14 "So I will break down the wall you have plastered with untempered mortar, and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation will be uncovered; it will fall, and you shall be consumed in the midst of it. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.

:15 "Thus will I accomplish My wrath on the wall and on those who have plastered it with untempered mortar; and I will say to you, 'The wall is no more, nor those who plastered it,

:16 'that is, the prophets of Israel who prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace,' " says the Lord GOD.

:17-23 False Prophetesses

:17 "Likewise, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own heart; prophesy against them,

There were Jewish women acting as sorceresses.

:18 "and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Woe to the women who sew magic charms on their sleeves and make veils for the heads of people of every height to hunt souls! Will you hunt the souls of My people, and keep yourselves alive?

(Ezek 13:18 KJV)  And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you?

(Ezek 13:18 NLT)  This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Destruction is certain for you women who are ensnaring the souls of my people, both young and old alike. You tie magic charms on their wrists and furnish them with magic veils. Do you think you can trap others without bringing destruction on yourselves?

This was apparently somehow related to the charms and spells they would put on people.

:19 "And will you profane Me among My people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, killing people who should not die, and keeping people alive who should not live, by your lying to My people who listen to lies?"

People have this attraction to “magic” things – rabbit’s feet, four leaf clovers, etc.  They want help from anything except God.

:20 'Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against your magic charms by which you hunt souls there like birds. I will tear them from your arms, and let the souls go, the souls you hunt like birds.

:21 "I will also tear off your veils and deliver My people out of your hand, and they shall no longer be as prey in your hand. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.

:22 "Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and you have strengthened the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life.

:23 "Therefore you shall no longer envision futility nor practice divination; for I will deliver My people out of your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD."' "

A while back there was this fellow named Peter Popov.  He was one of the television evangelists.  He was famous for his “words of knowledge”.  It was more like a circus act where he would stand up front and tell things about people he had never met.  He was asked to come onto the Johnny Carson show and demonstrate.  But while he was on the show, the Johnny Carson folks discovered that he had a little earphone in his ear and his wife was sitting in the audience telling him things she had learned about the various people.  Some people were devastated.  Others laughed at the gullible Christians.  Some say there was no real harm because his act caused “faith” to be stirred up in people.  I think God was part of his being exposed.

God doesn’t want His people believing in lies.  He is the God of Truth.

Last week I finished reading the book “The DaVinci Code”.  A great murder mystery, and page burner.  I’ll be putting together a study in the next couple of months about the book because I think it’s important that we understand what’s behind the book, especially with a big blockbuster movie being made about it.  But one of the premises of the book is that the “church” has been lying to the world all these years about Jesus.  The claim is that the church has covered up the real truth about Jesus.  While there is enough truth in the book to suck you into it’s plot, there’s also enough lies in the book to poison the minds of a world out there that doesn’t want to hear about Jesus.

The Bible is the Truth.  God wants you following the truth and not the silly things that the world makes up.