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Bible: What Does Ezekiel 13-15 Teach Us About False Prophets?

Updated on September 15, 2016

The Blinding Leading the Blind

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The Specific Sin of the False Prophets


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Prophecy Against False Prophets

What was Ezekiel's next assignment?

Prophesy a specific message of doom to false seers in Israel (vv. 1-2).

He names their chief error as falsely claiming revelation while, in fact, speaking "out of their own heart" (vv. 2-3).

Yahweh likens them to "foxes in the deserts" (v. 4).

[How do foxes behave in the desert?]

Having been told by these seers that peace was coming (v. 5), the people neglect to prepare for war ("gone up into the gaps to build a wall . . . to stand in battle . . . .").

God calls their message "futility and false divination" (v. 6), as well as "nonsense and lies" (v. 8).

They claim to speak God's word, but Yahweh denies it (vv. 6, 7).

By excluding them from the qahal (that is, congregation), their names from the national record, and their presence from the land, He declares His adamant opposition to them.

When judgment falls, they will realize His authority (vv. 8-9).

Verse 10 delineates their specific sin—proclaiming a false peace—and its consequence—insufficient protection from invasion; specifically, a boundary wall plastered with untempered mortar.

God assures the builders that the wall will be destroyed and that they will be ashamed ("where is the mortar . . . ?") [vv. 11-12].

He planned to bring both into ruin by means of a wind, a rain, and great hailstones (natural forces which speak figuratively of invasion).

No doubt remains that God will pour out His wrath against these prophets of a false peace (vv. 15-16).

Sin of False Prophetesses


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False Prophetesses

Ezekiel delivers another warning from Yahweh, this one against false prophetesses (v. 17).

Again, he names their specific sin: making magic charms and veils to “hunt” souls (v. 18).

Apparently, these practices smacked of sorcery.

The women seemed guilty of several offenses: profaning God (i.e., making Him ordinary), murder, and lying (v. 19).

As He revealed His disapprobation with the works of the male false prophets, Yahweh discloses His hatred of the deeds of the women, employing the language of violence ("tear . . . from your arms, tear off your veils") [vv. 20, 21].

He also rebukes them for causing sadness among the righteous through their lies, and strengthening the wicked ones' will to do evil (v. 22).

[How were the righteous saddened? What does “hunting souls” mean?

Some connection must exist between these questions].

By delivering His people, God will accomplish the discontinuation of these practices.

This act of power will prove to the false prophets that He is the LORD (v. 23).

Remedy to Punishment


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Avoiding Violence

Ezekiel 14

Another opportunity to rebuke prominent citizenry presents itself to Ezekiel, as a group of Israel's elders seat themselves before him (v. 1).

[The context shows that they have come to the prophet "to inquire" of him concerning God (see verse seven)].

Angry that they practice idolatry, Yahweh asks the prophet a rhetorical question regarding the elders' right to seek His favor (v. 3).

[Note the repetition in verses three and four: “setting up idols in one's heart” and “stumbling blocks into iniquity”].

Then he directs His spokesman to warn them of the consequences if they are so bold to try (vv. 4, 5).

By appropriate punishment ("answer . . . according to the multitude of his idols"), the LORD will “seize” Israel by his heart (v. 5).

If the house of Israel wishes to avoid this violence, they must repent of their ways (v. 6).

Job

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Daniel

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Noah

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Job, Daniel, and Noah

Verses 7-9 contain features both similar and dissimilar to the form found in verses four and five.

A first dissimilarity concerns the consequences: they now extend to strangers in Israel, and not only to the chosen nation (v. 7).

A second difference discusses God's clear intentions of excommunicating those who follow the disobedient into "an idolatry that separates" (v. 8).

The prophet states the similarity by using the three forms he employed before:

(1) setting up idols in his heart;

(2) putting up stumblingblocks into iniquity; and

(3) coming to a prophet.

[Yahweh adds some words to (3), asserting that He would induce this prophet to speak to an inquiring idolater (v. 9)].

The purpose of the chastening is restoration, not destruction (v. 11).

God's message continues along the same lines; He warns of judgment for their persistent unfaithfulness (vv. 12-13).

His punishment is hard, but just. Even the presence and influence of great righteous saints of old could not prevent what was going to happen (v. 14).

Regardless of the form of punishment facing the nation, Yahweh stresses that the presence of a few just men would not preclude judgment (vv. 15-20; cf. Gen. 18 and Abraham's intercession for Sodom).

Verse 21 suggests that the judgment upon Jerusalem would be of even greater intensity, because no great saint lives in her.

Still, God comforts Ezekiel with news of the survival of a remnant that will live better lives. Then the prophet would come to understand more fully Yahweh's purposes (vv. 22-23).

Ezekiel 15

In another word to the prophet, Yahweh compares the people of Jerusalem to the wood of the vine.

What is His conclusion? Both are practically useless.

After employing questions to demonstrate the uselessness of the wood of the vine, even when it is whole (vv. 1-5), the LORD shows how totally worthless it is as a burned object.

Verse six introduces the comparison He makes with Jerusalem.

"I will set My face against them" is the key statement (v. 7); it signifies His direct, personal attention in judging His people.

They will know that the disaster is from Him when it comes.

Their persistent unfaithfulness will cause desolation in the land (v. 8).

© 2014 glynch1

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    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I could see some of Ezekiel being on the front page of the newspaper or on the 6:00 news. Not much difference between then and now in some ways.

    • glynch1 profile image
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      glynch1 19 months ago

      You're right. Perhaps history is winding down very close to the end. I don't know if Farrakhan qualifies as a false prophet, but he is surely an antichrist.

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