Ezekiel 28-30

Thursday Evening Bible Study

October 20, 2005

Introduction

Ezekiel first talked about the judgment coming on God’s people.  He has now been talking about the judgment coming on the nations around Israel.  Last week we talked about how God would be destroying the great city of Tyre and the amazing fulfillment of the prophecy.  Now we get some words directed at the leader in Tyre.

Ezekiel 28

:1-10  Against the Prince of Tyre

:1 The word of the LORD came to me again, saying,

:2 "Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Because your heart is lifted up, And you say, 'I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas,' Yet you are a man, and not a god, Though you set your heart as the heart of a god

princenagiyd – leader, ruler, captain, prince

This would be the reigning king at the time, Ethbaal III, who ruled from 590-572 BC.

His judgment came for claiming to be a “god”.

:3 (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you!

This is the same Daniel as the prophet Daniel in the Bible.

:4 With your wisdom and your understanding You have gained riches for yourself, And gathered gold and silver into your treasuries;

:5 By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, And your heart is lifted up because of your riches),"

:6 'Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god,

:7 Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you, The most terrible of the nations; And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, And defile your splendor.

The Babylonians would come against Tyre and destroy the mainland city.  The Greeks under Alexander would later destroy the island city.

:8 They shall throw you down into the Pit, And you shall die the death of the slain In the midst of the seas.

the Pit – into hell.

in the midst of the seas – dying without proper burial, an interesting picture considering they were a seafaring people.

:9 "Will you still say before him who slays you, 'I am a god'? But you shall be a man, and not a god, In the hand of him who slays you.

:10 You shall die the death of the uncircumcised By the hand of aliens; For I have spoken," says the Lord GOD.'"

death of the uncircumcised – the Phoenicians practiced circumcision just like the Jews did.  This meant that the king would die a shameful death.

:11-19 Lament for the King of Tyre

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

:12 "Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

kingmelek – king.  A different word than the one used in verse 2.

:13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created.

It could be that God is still speaking of Ethbaal III, but you’ll see some things describing this “king” that don’t seem to fit normal humans – like being in the Garden of Eden.  It seems that God is describing the real power behind the king, Satan.

This gives us the idea that before his own fall, Satan was created to be a beautiful being, perhaps the most beautiful of all.

covering – perhaps a robe of some sort covered with these jewels.  The gems listed are nine of the twelve stones found in the high priest’s breastplate.

timbrelstoph – timbrel, tambourine

pipesneqeb – groove, socket, hole, cavity, settings; technical term relating to jeweller’s work

Some have suggested that this might be the picture of a heavenly “worship leader”.  Other translations have these words translated “settings and sockets”, referring to how the jewels are attached to the robe.

were created – Satan is a created being, a fallen angel.

:14 "You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.

cherub – these are the angels that are in God’s presence.  The Ark of the Covenant had two angels molded on lid, the Mercy Seat.  They had their wings stretched out, “covering” the seat. (Ex. 25:20)

holy mountain of God – heaven

fiery stones – perhaps other angelic beings in God’s presence.  Some of the angels are called “seraphim”, or “burning ones” (Is. 6).

:15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.

When Satan was created, he was perfect.  Until he sinned.

Lesson

Like God

It was Satan’s own pride that led to his sin.  Isaiah records something interesting about the “king” of Babylon, also a reference to Satan:
(Isa 14:12-14 NKJV)  "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! {13} For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; {14} I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.'

His sin was in wanting to be like God.

Remember the judgment against the human king, Ethbaal? (Eze. 28:2)
He considered himself to be a “god”.  Sound familiar?  Where did he get that idea?
Today there are several voices out there telling you to think along these lines.
New Age thinking declares that you are a god.
The Mormon church believes that good Mormons can progress to “godhood”.

Mormons believe that if they have their marriage “sealed” in a Mormon Temple, they will progress to godhood in heaven.  In heaven, a husband and wife will procreate and have “spirit babies” as they rule over their own planet.

Former LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie wrote that those who attain exaltation "…inherit in due course the fullness of the glory of the Father, meaning that they have all power in heaven and on earth..." (Mormon Doctrine pg. 257). The LDS Doctrine and Covenants also teaches that "then shall they be gods, because they have no end…then shall they be gods, because they have all power…" (D&C 132:16-26). This is the ultimate goal in Mormonism.

They might deny this and tell you that they don’t promote this anymore, but it’s in their history, it’s in their teaching.

Even the “Word-Faith” teachers will give you the impression that you can be ordering God around, that as a child of God you have certain “rights”.  Be careful about this beloved.
There is only One God.  And you are not Him.
For a long time Satan has been telling people that they can be like God.  It’s what led to Eve eating the forbidden fruit:
(Gen 3:4-5 NKJV)  Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. {5} "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Lesson

Pride

The root of all this evil is pride.
Pride is what led to Satan’s fall.  It’s what will make us fall as well.
(Prov 16:18 NKJV)  Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.
Paul warns Timothy about not letting a new believer become an elder …
(1 Tim 3:6 NKJV)  not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.
Illustration
Corrie Ten Boom used to tell the story about a proud woodpecker who was tapping away at a dead tree when the sky unexpectedly turned black and the thunder began to roll. Undaunted, he went right on working. Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck the old tree, splintering it into hundreds of pieces.  Startled but unhurt, the haughty bird flew off, screeching to his feathered friends, “Hey, everyone, look what I did! Look what I did!”
This old woodpecker reminds me of people who think more highly of themselves than they should.  Usually they are so busy bragging about their achievements and their greatness that they fail to recognize God as the source of all their abilities.  They are suffering from spiritual delusions of grandeur.  Without the Lord no one amounts to anything, and in our own strength we cannot please Him.
Illustration
Muhammad Ali was in his prime, and as he was about to take off on an airplane flight, the stewardess reminded him to fasten his seat belt. He came back brashly, “Superman don’t need no seat belt.” The stewardess quickly came back, “Superman don’t need no airplane, either.” Ali fastened his belt.
Sometimes pride manifests itself by the way we respond to compliments:
Illustration

The brilliant physician and writer Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., and his brother John represent two radically different views on the subject of flattery.  Dr. Holmes loved to collect compliments, and when he was older he indulged his pastime by saying to someone who had just praised his work, “I am a trifle deaf, you know.  Do you mind repeating that a little louder?”  John, however, was unassuming and content to be in his older brother’s shadow.  He once said that the only compliment he ever received came when he was six.  The maid was brushing his hair when she observed to his mother that little John wasn’t all that cross-eyed!

It’s not wrong to be complimented.  And in fact you ought to thank the person that compliments you.  But don’t let yourself get caught in the trap where you live for compliments.  That’s pride.
Illustration

Tom Brokaw tells the story of how he was wandering through Bloomingdale’s in New York one day, shortly after he was promoted to cohost on the Today show. That show was a pinnacle of sorts for Brokaw after years of work, first in Omaha, then for NBC in Los Angeles and Washington, and he was feeling good about himself. He noticed a man watching him closely. The man kept staring at him and finally, when the man approached him, Brokaw was sure he was about to reap the first fruits of being a New York television celebrity.

The man pointed his finger and said, “Tom Brokaw, right?”

“Right,” said Brokaw.

“You used to do the morning news on KMTV in Omaha, right?”

“That’s right,” said Brokaw, getting set for the accolades to follow.

“I knew it the minute I spotted you,” the fellow said. Then he paused and added, “Whatever happened to you?”

Sometimes it’s not so bad to have your pride knocked down a bit.

:16 "By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones.

trading[email protected] – merchandise, traffic, trade

It’s hard to see how “trading” would relate to Satan in the Garden of Eden.

But it’s easy to see how it relates to the city of Tyre – the world capital of merchants.

Last week, we caught a glimpse of the “merchandising” that Tyre was a part of with its wealth (Eze. 27).
The “Babylon” of the end times, the “world system” will also be inspired by Satan.  Look at the description of Babylon’s fall:
(Rev 18:11-13 NKJV)  "And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: {12} "merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; {13} "and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men.

Lesson

Worldliness

Their “trading”, inspired by Satan, let to violence within.
It makes me a bit concerned at America and its “capitalism”.
As Americans, we can get caught into thinking that everything America stands for is good and right.  And don’t get me wrong, there are many good things in America.  But there are many things found in America that are not good, and I wonder if our lust for wealth and “things” doesn’t fit into that category.
Satan wants us caught up in a lust for money
(1 Tim 6:9-10 NKJV)  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. {10} For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Do you see the “violence within” here?  Being “pierced” through with many sorrows.

:17 "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you.

:18 "You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you.

:19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror, And shall be no more forever."' "

After Satan’s sin, his position changed in God’s government.

Instead of being one of the worship leaders in God’s presence, he became chief prosecutor before God, the “accuser of the brethren”.

Satan still has access to heaven, as when he challenged God about Job, and as he accuses us night and day before God (Job 1; Rev. 12:10)

One day he will be thrown out of heaven, during the middle of the Tribulation period, where he will vent his anger on the world (Rev. 12).

He will be bound for a thousand years during the time that Jesus rules the earth (Rev. 20).

He will be let go for a short period to deceive the world one last time, and then thrown into the Lake of Fire forever (Rev. 20).

:20-24 Against Sidon

:20 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

:21 "Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, and prophesy against her,

Sidon was a “sister city” of Tyre, located 20 miles north of Tyre.  It is known today as the city of “Sayda” in southern Lebanon, population 38,000.

Ezekiel will speak of Sidon’s judgment … skip to …

:24 "And there shall no longer be a pricking brier or a painful thorn for the house of Israel from among all who are around them, who despise them. Then they shall know that I am the Lord GOD."

This is most likely talking about the destruction that Nebuchadnezzar would bring, but it’s interesting to find a modern possibility as well:

This from the Encarta Encyclopedia:  “In the mid-20th century two large Palestinian refugee camps developed around the city, and it subsequently became a stronghold of Palestinian militias. The city was badly damaged in Israeli bombings in 1982 during the Lebanese Civil War.”

:25-26 Israel’s blessing

:25 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob.

:26 "And they will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards; yes, they will dwell securely, when I execute judgments on all those around them who despise them. Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God."' "

I’m not sure this has happened yet.  This sounds like the Millennium, when Jesus will rule and reign for a thousand years on the earth.

Ezekiel 29

:1-16 Against Egypt

:1 In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

This comes on January 5, 587 BC, one year and two days after the siege of Jerusalem began (Eze. 24:1-2), a year before it would fall.

:2 "Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt.

Egypt has often been a part of the history of Israel.  Egypt was a place where the patriarchs went during times of famine.  When Jacob took the family to Egypt to escape the famine in the time of Joseph, the Israelites stayed in Egypt for 400 years, until Moses brought them out of slavery in Egypt. 

Egypt was often a place where the Israelites went for help when they didn’t want to trust in God.

Later in the Jews’ history, King Josiah died in an attempt to stop the Egyptians from marching against the Babylonians (2 Kings 23:29-30). That Pharaoh, Neco II, was defeated Nebuchadnezzar in 605 at Carchemish.

After Jerusalem would fall, some Jews would try to flee to Egypt (Jer. 44).

The Pharaoh mentioned here is Hophra (588-569), the grandson of Neco.  Hophra was the king that Zedekiah had been hoping would help him against Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 37:5-7; 44:30).

:3 "Speak, and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against you, O Pharaoh king of Egypt, O great monster who lies in the midst of his rivers, Who has said, 'My River is my own; I have made it for myself.'

Pharaoh is being described as a crocodile.

:4 But I will put hooks in your jaws, And cause the fish of your rivers to stick to your scales; I will bring you up out of the midst of your rivers, And all the fish in your rivers will stick to your scales.

skip to verse …

:10 "Indeed, therefore, I am against you and against your rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Ethiopia.

Migdol – on the northeast end of Egypt.

Syene – known as Aswan today, in the southern part of Egypt.

:11 "Neither foot of man shall pass through it nor foot of beast pass through it, and it shall be uninhabited forty years.

:12 "I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate; and among the cities that are laid waste, her cities shall be desolate forty years; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries."

:13 'Yet, thus says the Lord GOD: "At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered.

The Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar took many people captive (like the Jews).  When the Persians conquered the Babylonians, they set these people free, allowing them to return home.

:14 "I will bring back the captives of Egypt and cause them to return to the land of Pathros, to the land of their origin, and there they shall be a lowly kingdom.

:15 "It shall be the lowliest of kingdoms; it shall never again exalt itself above the nations, for I will diminish them so that they will not rule over the nations anymore.

:16 "No longer shall it be the confidence of the house of Israel, but will remind them of their iniquity when they turned to follow them. Then they shall know that I am the Lord GOD."' "

:17-21 Egypt will be Babylon’s wages

:17 And it came to pass in the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

April, 571 BC.  This comes much longer after some of the other prophecies.  It is the latest dated prophecy in Ezekiel’s book.  It is written one year after Nebuchadnezzar conquered Tyre.

:18 "Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to labor strenuously against Tyre; every head was made bald, and every shoulder rubbed raw; yet neither he nor his army received wages from Tyre, for the labor which they expended on it.

It took Nebuchadnezzar 13 years to conquer Tyre (585-572 B.C.).  And though he would conquer the mainland city of Tyre, the people and its wealth had been moved to the offshore island, so he did not gain any plunder from all the effort he spent on Tyre.

:19 "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Surely I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he shall take away her wealth, carry off her spoil, and remove her pillage; and that will be the wages for his army.

:20 'I have given him the land of Egypt for his labor, because they worked for Me,' says the Lord GOD.

Nebuchadnezzar had served God by bringing judgment on Judah.  He got paid for what he did.

:21 'In that day I will cause the horn of the house of Israel to spring forth, and I will open your mouth to speak in their midst. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.'"

(Ezek 29:21 NLT)  "And the day will come when I will cause the ancient glory of Israel to revive, and then at last your words will be respected. Then they will know that I am the LORD."

When these things would come to pass, the people would realize that Ezekiel had been a true prophet of God.

Ezekiel 30

:1-19 Egypt will fall

:1 The word of the LORD came to me again, saying,

:2 "Son of man, prophesy and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Wail, 'Woe to the day!'

:3 For the day is near, Even the day of the LORD is near; It will be a day of clouds, the time of the Gentiles.

the day of the LORD – A phrase that is used to speak of God’s judgment.  It is often used to speak of the end times, but here it is used to describe the judgment that will come on Egypt.

:4 The sword shall come upon Egypt, And great anguish shall be in Ethiopia, When the slain fall in Egypt, And they take away her wealth, And her foundations are broken down.

:5 "Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, all the mingled people, Chub, and the men of the lands who are allied, shall fall with them by the sword."

These are all allies of Egypt.

:6 'Thus says the LORD: "Those who uphold Egypt shall fall, And the pride of her power shall come down. From Migdol to Syene Those within her shall fall by the sword," Says the Lord GOD.

Many nations had been leaning on Egypt.  Israel wanted to lean on Egypt.

But Egypt was leaning on others.  And those nations would fall.

:7-19 Summarize

Ezekiel goes on to talk about how Nebuchadnezzar will attack Egypt, and about the various cities that will be conquered.

:20-26 Against Pharaoh

:20-26 And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first month, on the seventh day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

April, 587 BC., three months before Jerusalem falls.

Ezekiel goes on to talk about how God will “break the arm” of Pharaoh and how the Egyptians will be scattered for a time among all the nations.

go back to …

29:6 "Then all the inhabitants of Egypt Shall know that I am the LORD, Because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel.

staff of reed – a staff is something you need to be able to lean on.  But when it’s made out of a reed, it will break if you lean on it.  The Nile river had plenty of “reeds” growing alongside it.

It’s interesting that this is the same phrase that was used by Rabshakeh, the general of the Assyrian army as he threatened Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem.  He had been assuming that Hezekiah was trusting in Egypt to rescue them from the Assyrian army.

(Isa 36:6 NKJV)  "Look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him.

There may have been some of the people in Jerusalem hoping that Egypt would rescue them, but Hezekiah wasn’t trusting in Egypt, he was trusting in the Lord.

Lesson

Trust in the Lord.

Do you have “Egypts” in your life that you are counting on bailing you out of your problems?
People are going to let you down.
Money is going to fail you.  Good looks are going to fail you.  Physical strength is going to fail you.  Intellect is going to fail you.
Only God won’t fail.  Trust in the Lord.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have to act wisely.  It doesn’t mean you don’t have to make good choices.  Hezekiah did much to prepare for the invasion of the Assyrians.  But his trust was in the Lord.

Trusting in the Lord doesn’t mean that you won’t have any more problems. They may come back over and over again.  You may have lots of “opportunities” to trust the Lord.

But you have to keep trusting Him.

(Psa 73:28 NKJV)  But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works.

(Psa 118:8-9 NKJV)  It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. {9} It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes.

 (Prov 3:5-6 NKJV)  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; {6} In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.