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Passage: Ezekiel 28-30

On Tuesday, September 17, 2013, Yujin wrote,

Against Sidon

Then they will know that I am the Lord when I execute judgments in her... By the sword upon her on every side; Then they will know that I am the Lord... And there will be no more for the house of Israel a prickling brier or a painful thorn from any round about them who scorned them; then they will know that I am the Lord God... They will live in it securely; and they will build houses, plant vineyards and live securely when I execute judgments upon all who scorn them round about them. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God... The land of Egypt will become a desolation and waste. Then they will know that I am the Lord  (Ezekiel 28:22-24, 26; 29:9).

Against Egypt

It will be the lowest of the kingdoms, and it will never again lift itself up above the nations. And I will make them so small that they will not rule over the nations. And it will never again be the confidence of the house of Israel, bringing to mind the iniquity of their having turned to Egypt. Then they will know that I am the Lord God... On that day I will make a horn sprout for the house of Israel, and I will open your mouth in their midst. Then they will know that I am the Lord... And they will know that I am the Lord, When I set a fire in Egypt And all her helpers are broken... Thus I will execute judgments on Egypt, And they will know that I am the Lord... Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I put My sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and hestretches it out against the land of Egypt. When I scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them among the lands, then they will know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 29:15-16, 21; 30:8,19,25-26).

Look at how often God says, "Then they will know that I am the Lord," in these few chapters. Now, God's desire to be known as the Lord is not new or uncommon; however, what is unique here is the manner in which He will be known. He will not be known as their Savior. He will not be known for His compassion and longsuffering and lovingkindess. He will not be known for His faithfulness to keep His covenant promises. No. Here, God will be known for His holiness and wrath. 

Let us understand that God is not merely glorified in His generous outlay of mercy toward His chosen people, but He is also glorified when He pours out His wrath on the rebellious and sinful. So often, the only message we hear is one of God's love and mercy, but if I do a statistical analysis of how often these are mentioned versus God's holiness and wrath, I daresay there would be at least as much if not greater mention of the latter. 

Friends, we would be failing to preach and teach the whole counsel of Scripture if we emphasize the one side and neglect the other. We would be giving a skewed picture of God, who is both holy and loving.

Likewise, when we preach the Gospel, let us not neglect to preach the message of repentance along with the message of faith. By repentance, I don't mean reformation but rather an acknowledgement of need, a sorrow over and willingness to turn from sin and dead works toward a living faith in Christ. By repentance we recognize that we do not deserve salvation and are worthy only of condemnation. In repentance we see our true condition before a holy God, who can justly condemn us. We recognize our powerlessness to not only save ourselves but even to believe the message of salvation.

Repentance literally means "change of mind" (metanoia in Greek). How does this change of mind happen? I believe this is in part what is meant by Jesus when He told Nicodemus,

No one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again... no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit (John 3:3,5).

Paul also writes,

What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12-14).

It is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring about repentance that leads to true faith. Paul explains how the Holy Spirit transformed us from unbelief and disobedience to faith in th righteous work of Christ. It was through the "washing of rebirth and renewal":

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:3-7).

Friends, all this is to say that God would receive no less glory if He had condemned us to hell with the rest of the great majority of people in the world. Yet, He chose to save us on the basis of His elective love by Christ's sacrifice for our sins on the cross and through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Thus, He will be glorified in His wrath and in His mercy. As Paul also wrote,

Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— (Romans 9:21-23).

Rejoice, my friends, if you are reading these comments, believing in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you are counted among "the objects of His mercy, whom He prepared in advance for glory!" 

Passage: Ezekiel 28-30

On Monday, September 24, 2012, Fernando wrote,

Ezekiel 29
15 It shall be the most lowly of the kingdoms, and never again exalt itself above the nations. And I will make them so small that they will never again rule over the nations.

Here's a prophecy we can continue to hold on to, a lingering proof of the Bible's accuracy, that Egypt will not be a world power again.... Ever.


Ezekiel 30
3     For the day is near,
    the day of the Lord is near;

The 'Day of the Lord' is not just the end times judgment. This is a term of God's vengeance and judgment. It is a term used in the New Testament when the temple is destroyed; a phrase defined here and used in prophetic terms.

Passage: Ezekiel 28-30

On Monday, September 17, 2012, Yujin wrote,

Brother Stephen asked a good question with respect to biblical inerrancy:

Many scholars attacked inerrancy of the Bible by using today's reading.  What do you think?

Yujin's response:

I think I was able to find the context for your question. I believe it pertains to the destruction of the city of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar. I can see how some might see a problem with infallibility between the account in Ezekiel 26 and 29. In chapter 26, Ezekiel seems to suggest that Nebuchadnezzar attacked Tyre and got rich from it. But chapter 29 indicates there were no spoils for Nebuchadnezzar in attacking Tyre. Was the prophet wrong in chapter 26?
I think a good case can be made from the archeological record that there were two Tyres, an Old Tyre, on the mainland, and the island city of Tyre. Nebuchadnezzar attacked the first but failed in the second. Also, a careful exegesis of Ezekiel 26 will demonstrate that Nebuchadnezzar would only be one of several nations that would attack Tyre, and it would be the latter nations, like Greece (of Alexander the Great) that would partake of the spoils of Tyre, particularly the island city of Tyre.
Here's a good article that discusses the issue in depth:

Passage: Ezekiel 28-30

On Monday, September 17, 2012, Yujin wrote,

Egypt will no longer be a source of confidence for the people of Israel but will be a reminder of their sin in turning to her for help. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.'" (Ezekiel 29:16 NIV)

How is it sin to ask someone for help? Which commandment says that you cannot ask for help, particularly when you are being threatened? But it IS sin when God commands the remnant in Jerusalem not to turn to Egypt for help, and they do turn to Egypt for help. Sin is not simply the breaking of a law. Sin is any disobedience to God. If Jesus did not submit to death on the cross, it would have been sin for him, for this was the Father's will. Let us understand that sin, as well as any evil, is not an entity in itself, but should be understood as any departure from God and God's will. God Himself defines what is good.

While it is true that God Himself never changes. He is always true to Himself. But does God ever change His commands? Yes indeed. He does it a lot. For example, He commanded Israel to take the Promised Land at Kadesh Barnea. But after they grumbled about it, He changed His mind about it. He told them not to take the land but to go back to where they came from. They disobeyed the first time by not taking the land, and God judged them. Then, they disobeyed again by trying to take the land after He told them not to, and God judged them again. The Israelites needed to understand that the issue was not about taking the land or not taking the land but simply trusting and obeying God.

Friends, I have argued before that we are no longer under the Old Covenant Law of Moses. The New Testament makes clear that the Old Covenant is obsolete, made ineffective, nailed to the cross, and has been permanently replaced by the New Covenant in Christ (Ephesians 2:14-15; Colossians 2:13-17; Romans 7:6; Hebrews 8:7,13). Christ is the fulfillment of the Law, and by His death He ratified the New Covenant, which is not based on Law but grace. As John writes, "For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). He would not have set these in contrast to each other if he did not mean to show that one displaces the other, as the Book of Hebrews would make abundantly clear.

Yet, there are still people preaching that we must follow the Ten Commandments. There are still people preaching that it is required of Christians to keep the Sabbath (or Sunday, the "converted" Sabbath) and pay the tithe (i.e. their Law-requred ten percent). There are even people that try to apply other parts of the Law, only modifying them to make them more palatable to contemporary tastes. To make their case they use the Old Testament passages that defend these regulations from the Law of Moses. You can see how this is illegitimate and wrong.

I am still amazed by my conversations with Christian leaders, who, for the most part, rather than trying to provide a defense from Scripture, simply double down on their position or authority, arguing that any disagreement with them is simply contributing to disunity in the church and, therefore, should be silenced. Like the President of the United States, they have the "bully pulpit" to assert their case, and like sheep without a good shepherd people just nod their heads in agreement or shout "Amen" whenever they hear cue words and phrases spoken. Then they conclude that after having said so many "Amens," everything that was spoken must also be true. God help us all. We respond more like conditioned animals rather than thoughtful people of God. 

Passage: Ezekiel 28-30

On Saturday, September 17, 2011, Stephen wrote,

"On that day messengers will go out from me in ships to frighten Cush out of her complacency. Anguish will take hold of them on the day of Egypt’s doom, for it is sure to come"

 We must be careful not to be complacent from where we are now because our end, whether it is personal death or His second coming, may come without warning just as God brought disaster down on Egypt suddenly. We are not invincible. We are finite. Let us run the race well so that we may be rewarded by our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

Passage: Ezekiel 28-30

On Friday, September 17, 2010, Fernando wrote,

I wondered if this had significance, Ezekiel 28:2 uses a lesser 'ruler' word than the word in 28:12.  One is like a 'captain' the other is a 'king' -word.  I thought that supported nicely too, the idea that the first part of the chapter is for the slave of lucifer (the human king), and the latter part is for the real king (lucifer).

Passage: Ezekiel 28-30

On Friday, September 17, 2010 (Last Updated on 9/17/2013), Yujin wrote,

In Ezekiel 28-30 three more nations are addressed for judgment; namely, Tyre (mentioned before), Sidon, and Egypt with the focus on Tyre and Egypt, because not only were these nations a thorn in the side of Israel, they were also consumed with pride. And there is a twist to the judgment on Egypt, for Egypt is judged not because they scorned Israel but because they were a false confidence for Israel against God's decreed judgment (cf. Ezekiel 29:16). Therefore, we should understand that the basis of judgment is never about the holy thing or the holy people but rather God, who makes things and people holy. So, when David would not strike Saul, it was not simply because he was the "anointed king," but because the LORD had anointed him.

I mention this because there are some today that try to quote the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 12 to argue that any criticism or attack against Israel will incur the curse of God. This is not necessarily true. Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, who destroyed Judah, was blessed because he faithfully executed God's judgment against the nations and Judah. He was even rewarded with the spoils of Egypt (cf. Ezekiel 29:20). Later, Babylon would be judged, not because it faithfully served as God's agent of judgment but rather because of its pride and extreme ruthlessness beyond what God had commanded. In the time of Jeremiah, Judah also had a false confidence in having the Temple of God, thinking that just by its presence, they would be secure from harm. Yet, God would show them the Temple means nothing apart from their faithfulness to God, who makes the Temple holy. Isaiah warns against ritual without justice, form without heart, in worship and service. God detests such hypocrisy and will not bless it. Let us also make sure that our extreme unction in worship arises out of genuine trust and practical obedience to God.

Secondly, notice that the judgment against the King of Tyre takes on a different tone in Ezekiel 28:11ff. Before, the king of Tyre claimed to be a god, etc. etc. But God rejects this claim, saying he is just a man (cf. Ezekiel 28:9). However, in verse 12, God acknowledges the beauty and majesty of this figure: "You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty." This should clue the reader into recognizing someone other than the human "king of Tyre" may be in view. Verse 13 says, "You were in Eden, the garden of God..." Clearly this could not be the human king. Again, God says, "You were the anointed cherub who covers..." These descriptions have led theologians to conclude that the prophet is being given a vision that extends beyond the human figure and his pride to one that epitomizes both greatness and pride, namely, Lucifer. What is described, then, in verses 15ff is the sin and judgment of Lucifer, who, like the king of Tyre, exalted himself in pride, and was likewise judged by God. One message that I draw from this is that beauty, fame, power, and wealth are no substitutes for humility and obedience to God. Whether or not God gives us the former or not, we must do the latter. We must also take care that these do not become a stumbling block for us in what God requires, which is humility and obedience. As we learn from Micah 6:8,

He has shown all you people what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.