Bible: What Does Ezekiel 6-7 Teach Us About Apostasy and Divine Judgment?
Ezekiel Prophesies Doom
Characteristics of the Remnant
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Judgment Reveals the Righteousness of the LORD
Yahweh directs Ezekiel to prophesy judgment against the "mountains of Israel" (vv. 1-3).
A frontal assault against Israel's idolatrous worship will result in desolate altars, broken incense altars, and destroyed high places.
Many worshipers will also fall slain in the midst of the rubble.
All of these judgments will reveal the LORD as a God of justice and wrath (vv. 4-7).
Yet God in His mercy will spare a small number to "remember Me among the nations."
Since they fully realize their own wickedness, the remnant will serve as a conduit of divine knowledge for others.
They will communicate two vital facts:
(1) that they had deeply hurt the LORD, and
(2) that He is always faithful to punish the impenitent (vv. 8-10).
This remnant shows true sorrow, even anger, over the nation's evil and their consequent punishment/destruction by sword, famine, and pestilence (v. 11).
Israel will experience God's jealousy when they fall victim to these judgments (v. 12).
Violent, painful death and desolate lands will convince the nation that Yahweh was not joking about His intention to punish them (vv. 13-14).
[Four times in this chapter Yahweh employs the concluding remarks: "Then you shall know that I am the LORD."]
The LORD: A God of Wrath?
Is God also a God of wrath, or is He only a God of love?
The End Has Arrived
Yahweh delivers a message (which the translators place in poetic verse) for the prophet to make known to the nation.
The end of God's present day of mercy had finally arrived; judgment must now alight upon the people because of their abominations (vv. 1-3).
Through all of their incredible suffering, they will come to recognize that the judgment is the LORD's doing (v. 4).
Intense emotion and great exercise of spirit persist here, as God announces the doom that He is about to bring upon His people.
By a repetition of certain words and declarations ("the time/an end/doom has come"), Yahweh emphasizes imminent destruction as well as how He "feels" about it (vv. 5-7).
When His "patience" runs out, God's anger alone remains to punish those who reject His ways in favor of their own.
Again, more repetition (this time in the parallelism of verses eight and nine) stresses God's determination to judge, but to do so fairly.
His execution of this necessary task will serve to bring home to Israel the reality of His commitment to their holiness.
Aaron's Blossoming Rod
Verses 10-11 further show the completeness of Israel's defection.
The text's historical allusion needs explanation here.
A blossoming rod reminds one of Aaron and the circumstances surrounding God's choice of him (and not others) as high priest (see Numbers 17).
“Pride budding and violence rising up into a rod of wickedness” may speak of rebelliousness against authority, resulting in violent acts.
Because such may have been the case on a wholesale basis here, all will feel God's wrath (vv. 11b-12).
No one (God speaks of buyers and sellers here) will prosper because iniquity prevents it (v. 13).
God's wrath will accomplish their separate demises, whether by sword, pestilence, or famine (vv. 14-15).
Yahweh now turns from the doomed to discuss the scattered.
Filled with mourning (penitence) and physical weakness, their lives will demonstrate many outward signs of intense suffering (vv. 16-18).
They will come to realize that not only can their great wealth not save them, but also that their devoted pursuit of the same was, in fact, the cause of their fall into sin; consequently, they will rid themselves of it (v. 19).
Ornaments originally "set in majesty"—that is to say, meant to bring God glory—, Israel had fashioned into idols (v. 20).
Upon sending the nation into exile, Yahweh abandons these vessels to the wicked invaders, who defile them as well as God's "secret place" (vv. 20-22).
While the invaders capture the scattered (the chain of verse 23 may refer to that which binds captives together), other Gentiles confiscate homes and defile holy places (v. 24).
Every effort Judah makes to contact God is vain; no civil or religious leader prospers or knows what to do.
Through these judgments and disasters, the people will finally recognize that it is God's hand that is against them (vv. 25-27).
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