September 16, 2021
"In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year on the tenth day of the month – this was the fourteenth year after the city of Jerusalem was struck..."
“In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year on the tenth day of the month – this was the fourteenth year after the city of Jerusalem was struck – it was on that very day that the hand of the Lord was on me, and He took me there. In visions, God brought me to the land of Israel and put me down on a very special high mountain: on it, toward the south, it seemed that a city was being built. That is where He took me, and there in front of me was a man whose appearance was like bronze. He had a flax cord and a measuring rod in his hand, and he stood in the gateway. The man said to me, ‘Human being, look with your eyes, hear with your ears, and pay attention to all the things I am showing you because the reason you were brought here is so that I could show them to you. Tell everything you see to the house of Israel.’” Ezekiel 40:1-4
Prophecy can typically be analyzed in three stages: Immediate/present-day, Messianic era, and End Times. That is, a prophecy would generally be given for the (somewhat) immediate observation within the prophet’s generation (using the word “generation” in the greater sense). But that same prophecy might have Messianic implications, pointing to Jesus, as if to say, “Remember the last time these circumstances aligned themselves, and God judged sin & delivered His Remnant? That was a trial run for our greater deliverance through Messiah.” And, of course, a prophecy fulfilled in the prophet’s generation (as well as being more greatly fulfilled in the days of Jesus) may still be “unfulfilled” with relation to the Day of The Lord or the coming Kingdom.
At first glance, today’s chapter appears to be written as a sort of “impressionist painting.” It is as if Ezekiel is conveying truths using abstract and exaggerated details. It can be compared to the music of Debussy or the paintings of Renoir. But at the same time, he is communicating the concrete truth of God’s Word. For men to understand prophecy rightly, God’s truth must transcend the “impression” and be revealed as “concrete” by the Holy Spirit. Ezekiel understood what he saw because he was spiritually enabled to “see, hear and pay attention.” He was commanded to communicate that truth to the house of Israel. This idea is nothing new to anyone who has closely read the parables of Jesus.
“He told them, ‘The secret of the Kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, “They may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise, they might turn and be forgiven!”’” Mark 4:11-12
Isaiah was given a similar charge to preach God’s Word, but with the caveat that his audience would not believe.
“He said, ‘Go and tell this people: Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’” Isaiah 6:9
It is not that God only wants certain people to know the truth yet others to not believe. Rather, He knows that men will not believe unless they earnestly seek truth in Him. (Matthew 7:7; John 6:44; Jeremiah 29:12-14) Keep seeking Him in His Word!