The Latter Major Prophets – Ezekiel 12-14

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people.  They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.
“Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place.  Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious people.  During the daytime, while they watch, bring out your belongings packed for exile.  Then in the evening, while they are watching, go out like those who go into exile.  While they watch, dig through the wall and take your belongings out through it.  Put them on your shoulder as they are watching and carry them out at dusk.  Cover your face so that you cannot see the land, for I have made you a sign to the Israelites.”
So I did as I was commanded.  During the day I brought out my things packed for exile.  Then in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands.  I took my belongings out at dusk, carrying them on my shoulders while they watched.
In the morning the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, did not the Israelites, that rebellious people, ask you, ‘What are you doing?’
“Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This prophecy concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the Israelites who are there.’  Say to them, ‘I am a sign to you.’
“As I have done, so it will be done to them. They will go into exile as captives.
“The prince among them will put his things on his shoulder at dusk and leave, and a hole will be dug in the wall for him to go through.  He will cover his face so that he cannot see the land.  I will spread my net for him, and he will be caught in my snare; I will bring him to Babylonia, the land of the Chaldeans, but he will not see it, and there he will die.  I will scatter to the winds all those around him—his staff and all his troops—and I will pursue them with drawn sword.
“They will know that I am the Lord, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries.  But I will spare a few of them from the sword, famine and plague, so that in the nations where they go they may acknowledge all their detestable practices.  Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, tremble as you eat your food, and shudder in fear as you drink your water.  Say to the people of the land: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says about those living in Jerusalem and in the land of Israel: They will eat their food in anxiety and drink their water in despair, for their land will be stripped of everything in it because of the violence of all who live there.  The inhabited towns will be laid waste and the land will be desolate.  Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, what is this proverb you have in the land of Israel: ‘The days go by and every vision comes to nothing’?  Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to put an end to this proverb, and they will no longer quote it in Israel.’ Say to them, ‘The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled.  For there will be no more false visions or flattering divinations among the people of Israel.  But I the Lord will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay.  For in your days, you rebellious people, I will fulfill whatever I say, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, the Israelites are saying, ‘The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future.’
“Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

  • Ezekiel 12:1-28

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying.  Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!  This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!  Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins.  You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord.  Their visions are false and their divinations a lie.  Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words.  Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The Lord declares,” though I have not spoken?
“‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign Lord.  My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations.  They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel.  Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.
“‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall.  Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth.  When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?”
“‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury.  I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the Lord.  So I will pour out my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash.  I will say to you, “The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign Lord.”’
“Now, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination.  Prophesy against them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the women who sew magic charms on all their wrists and make veils of various lengths for their heads in order to ensnare people.  Will you ensnare the lives of my people but preserve your own?  You have profaned me among my people for a few handfuls of barley and scraps of bread.  By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live.
“‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against your magic charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them from your arms; I will set free the people that you ensnare like birds.  I will tear off your veils and save my people from your hands, and they will no longer fall prey to your power.  Then you will know that I am the Lord.  Because you disheartened the righteous with your lies, when I had brought them no grief, and because you encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways and so save their lives, therefore you will no longer see false visions or practice divination.  I will save my people from your hands.  And then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

  • Ezekiel 13:1-23

Ezekiel 14:1-23 – Click the link HERE to read this at Biblegateway.com

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Ezekiel 12-24 ‘summary’: “In chapters 12 through 24, Ezekiel tells how God struggles with His people, how He seeks to win them and awaken them to the foolishness of turning their backs on Him.  They go through experiences of heartache and punishment as God seeks to bring them to their senses and show them their need of fellowship with Him.  Without Him, they are doomed to sink deeper into folly and degradation. …
“When human beings choose to disregard the God who created them, He must pronounce judgment.  If we neglect God, who is essential to our being, and we refuse to respond to His love and grace, the only thing left for us is the consequences of turning our backs on Him.”

  • Ray C. Stedman, Adventuring through the Bible

Ezekiel 12:3 ‘prepare for captivity’: “This dramatic object lesson by the prophet called for carrying belongings out in a stealthy way as an act that depicted baggage for exile, i.e., just the bare necessities.  His countrymen carried out such baggage when they went into captivity, or sought to escape during Babylon’s takeover of Jerusalem (vv. 7, 11).  Some people attempting to escape were caught as in a net, like King Zedekiah who was overtaken, blinded, and forced into exile (vv. 12, 13; 2 Kin. 24:18-25:7; Jer. 39:4-7; 52:1-11).  Verse 7 indicates that Ezekiel actually did what he was told.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 12:8-14 ‘the first visual sermon’: “The rebellious house of Israel didn’t believe the warnings, the messages of the judgments that were spoken through the many prophets sent by the Lord.  But as we have already seen, the Lord was keeping His word according to His own timing.  The last date that we were given by Ezekiel in his ‘journal’ was the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month. (Ezekiel 8:1)  This was approximately 592 B.C.  The visual sermon we have just looked at is believed to have been received in the same year, because no other dates are given.  Then six years later, in 586 B.C., the prophecy regarding the exile and captivity of the ‘prince’ came to pass.”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 12:17-20 ‘the second visual sermon’: “The next visual illustration preached by Ezekiel was probably delivered shortly after the portrayal of the king going into captivity.  You already know ‘the rest of the story,’ but keep in mind that the Babylonian exiles did not.  They were living under false hopes due to false prophets.  This illustration will communicate the certainty of the coming judgment of the Lord. …
“Dr. J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988) was a preacher who taught with down-to-earth comments about the Word of God.  He said ‘Ezekiel was a very brilliant man, but I think he also had a real sense of humor.  I would love to have seen his face when he went through some of these mechanics!  I think he might have been somewhat of a ham actor and been greatly amused as he did these things.
“Regarding the visual message we have just looked at, Dr. McGee says: ‘This is quite a stunt Ezekiel is going to pull.  He is to bring his table out into the street and sit there, trembling as he eats.  Then the people will come and say, “What’s the matter with you?  Have you got a chill, or is it something you ate?”  Ezekiel will give them God’s message: “I want you to know what’s happening over yonder in Jerusalem.  There’s a famine over there.  There’s fear over there.  God is destroying the city.” What an awesome message he has to bring.’”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 12:21-28 ‘’: “I need God’s Word everyday.  But there are some days when I let the details of life get in the way of spending time with the Lord through His word, and I can always tell a difference in my life.  My perspective starts to get influenced by my self, Satan, and the world.  But, oh, the delight and refreshment and peace that comes from being with the Lord through His Word!  I have learned to hear Him.  I prayed for the Lord to open my eyes that I might behold wonderful things in His Word!  He has answered that prayer!”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 12:27 ‘distant times?’: “One would have thought that if the glorious Lord condescended to send his servants to speak to men of the way of salvation, all mankind would delight to hear the message.  We would naturally conclude that the people would immediately run together in eager crowds to catch every word and would at once be obedient to the heavenly command.  But, alas, it has not been so.  Man’s opposition to God is too deep, too stubborn for that; the prophets of old were compelled to cry, ‘Who has believed our report?’  And the servants of God in later times found themselves face-to-face with a stiff-necked generation who resisted the Holy Spirit as their fathers did.  People display great ingenuity in making excuses for rejecting the message of God’s love; they display marvelous skill not in seeking salvation but in fashioning reasons for refusing it; they are dexterous in avoiding divine grace and in securing their own ruin.  They hold up, first, this shield and then the other to ward off the gracious arrows of the gospel of Jesus Christ which are only meant to slay the deadly sins that lurk in their hears.  The evil argument mentioned in the text has been used from Ezekiel’s day right down to the present moment, and it has served Satan’s turn in tens of thousands of cases.  By its means people have delayed themselves into hell.  The sons of men, when they hear of the great atonement made on the cross by the Lord Jesus, and are bid to lay hold on eternal life in him, still say concerning the gospel, ‘The vision that he sees concerns many years from now; he prophesies about distant times.’  That is to say, they pretend that the matters of which we speak are not of immediate importance and may safely be postponed; they imagine that religion is for the weakness of the dying and the infirmity of the aged but not for healthy men and women.  God knows the frivolity of our plea for delay; he knows we are doubtful about it and dare not stand to it so as to give it anything like a solemn consideration.  We try hard to deceive ourselves into an easy state of conscience concerning it, but in our inmost soul we are ashamed of our own lies.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

Ezekiel 13:5 ‘to build a wall’: “The false prophets did nothing to shore up the spiritual defenses that the people so needed in the face of judgment.  The enemy had made ‘gaps,’ but the false prophets never encouraged the people to repent and return to the Lord.  Those who would were called for in 22:30.  The Day of the Lord came in 586 B.C. when the theocracy fell.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 13:9 ‘threefold judgment’: “A threefold judgment is given to the false prophets: (1) they would not be in the council of God’s people; (2) their names would be wiped from the register of Israel (Ezra 2:62); and (3) they would never return to the land (cf. 20:38).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 13:10-12 ‘whitewash’: “Ezekiel was sent to awaken the people of Jerusalem to a sense of danger.  This task was in itself difficult enough since he had to deal with a slumbering people who were carnally secure, but the difficulty was much increased by the fact that a large number of base pretenders to prophecy, both male and female, sprang up at that time and exercised great influence among the people.  They imitated the prophet’s speech; they came forward with their lies and prefaced them with solemn words; ‘This is what the Lord God says,’ pretending to have a commission from the Lord of Hosts.  Thus the people of Jerusalem scarcely knew whom to believe – Ezekiel prophesying terrors or these pretenders saying, ‘Peace, peace.’  Their evil hearts always leaned to the side of the false prophets because they flattered them grossly; they heaped to themselves teachers who for a piece of bread prophesied as they desired.  Surely the prophet’s blood often boiled within him as he saw his own labors spoiled and the souls that he loved so well so fearfully deluded by the hirelings who wore a rough mantle to deceive.  Ezekiel was not of those who could be content to deliver his message and let others alone, as we nowadays are bid to do, but he turned on the deceivers and denounced them with terrible earnestness because he saw them to be wolves in sheep’s clothing devouring the flock.
“Now in these days we are somewhat similarly circumstanced. The true servant of God in his ministry dares not prophesy smooth things to unconverted men and women.  To deliver these mournful warnings boldly and fearlessly is no easy work, and to bring men to receive them is a labor impossible apart from the power of the Holy Spirit.  People love present pleasure and license and they hate to be told of the day when these things will be required of them.  Even at this hour there are those who oppose us, those who are always speaking smooth things to the people.  With Satan at their head, that arch0master and prince of deceivers, a great company abroad in the world are always saying, ‘It will not be so; you will have pleasure though you sin; you will have rest though you disobey, and it will be well with you at the end even though you reject the gospel of Christ.’  Not in so many words but in effect, this is loud proclamation of the messengers of Satan who are permitted to buffet us.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

Ezekiel 13:17-23 ‘female false prophets’: “Although women are rebuked by Isaiah (3:16-4:1); 32:9-13) and Amos (4:1-3), this is the only OT text where false prophetesses are mentioned.  Sorcery was practiced mainly by women.  Jezebel is called a false prophetess in Revelation 2:20.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Ezekiel 13 ‘summary’: “There is a clear repetition of words and concepts throughout this chapter which emphasize the wicked actions of the so-called prophets and which also emphasize the Lord’s response to their foolishness.”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 14:3-7 ‘mental & spiritual idolatry’: “Three times God says that these elders have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces (vv. 3, 4, 7).  This, however, refers to more than the practice of idolatry.  Perhaps the elders have just heard Ezekiel’s narration of the temple idolatries that he saw in a vision (11:25).  ‘How awful, how blasphemous,’ they might have said among themselves.  However, in seeing the sliver in the Jerusalemite’s eye they have missed the plank in the deportee’s eye.
“If the exiled elders were practicing idolatry, the text would say so in straightforward language.  By using the description it does, the text suggests that their sin is an inner idolatry, a mental idolatry, rather than an external idolatry.  Idolatry here does not mean prostration before busts of Baal or Marduk or any other god.  It is a state of mind that is at cross-purposes with the will and being of God.  It is out of the heart/mind that evil comes.  God has a ways to go with these people if one day he is to give them ‘an undivided heart’ (11:19).  The truth is that they have a divided heart, and in such a state not even a prophet will be of assistance (vv. 4, 7, 9).  God will go so far even to mislead a prophet in giving counsel. The invitation to turn away from ‘idolmindedness’ is here (v. 6), as is the promise of positive results from repentance (v. 11).”

  • Walter A. Elwell, editor, Baker Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 14:8-11 ‘love of the Lord God for His people’: “Can you see and hear and feel the love of the Lord God for His people?  The book of Ezekiel doesn’t come across as a warm and fuzzy love letter, but the love of the Lord is clearly spoken even when it has to be in the language of tough love.  Remember that the name of the Lord, YAHWEH, is one that expressed a personal relationship.”

  • Elizabeth Bagwell Ficken, that you may know the Lord, an in-depth study of Ezekiel
  • For more information go to https://elizabethficken.com

Ezekiel 14:20 ‘rescued by our own righteousness alone’: “We are told in the opening verse of this chapter that certain of the elders of Israel came to the prophet and sat before him.  We need not ask who these elders were or where they came from because it is evident enough they were not a deputation from the Jews who were left in Judah and Jerusalem.  But they were individuals of distinction from among the exiles in Chebar.  That they came to inquire of the prophet of the Lord we gather from the answer that came to them by the word of the Lord.  And we might also infer from the matter of the terrible denunciations that were uttered something at least of the manner of inquiry they proposed.  The men were downright hypocrites, followers of the false prophets who are exposed in the previous chapter as seeing vanity and divination and then saying, ‘The Lord says,’ though Jehovah had not sent them.  Now they come, these elders, to interview the true prophet of the Lord; and before they have time to state their errand, the word of the Lord confronts them with a lifelike portrait of their own characters.  ‘These men have set up idols in their hearts and have put their sinful stumbling blocks in front of themselves.  Should I actually let them inquire of me?’ (Ezk 14:3).  For persons who were idolaters at heart to ask counsel of the living God, as if they would learn his will though they defiled his law, was a most insulting mockery.  The thought that seems to have nestled in their breasts and prompted their visit was this: after all the exposure Ezekiel has made of the wickedness of the land and of its inhabitants, may it not still be consistent with the mercy of the Lord to spare the city as he would have spared the city of Sodom at the intercession of Abraham for the sake of the few righteous men that remained in it?  The answer, of course, was an emphatic no.  A reference to the four judgments that should work the desolation stand associated with the protest, which is repeated again and again, each time, it seems to us, with more vehement force: ‘Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live they could not rescue their son or daughter.  They would rescue only themselves by their righteousness.’”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

Ezekiel 14:13-20 ‘acts of judgment & no one to rescue’: “God promised four acts in His drama of judgment (cf. …v. 21).  In none could the three heroes avert tragedy as advocates.  These were (1) famine; (2) ravages by wild beasts; (3) the sword; and (4) pestilence.
“Jeremiah 7:16 and 15:1-4 provide a close parallel to this passage [Noah, Daniel, and Job].  According to Jeremiah, even Moses and Samuel, well known for their power in intercessory prayer, would not prevail to deliver Jerusalem and the people.  The three OT heroes mentioned in this section exhibited the power of intercession on behalf of others (cf. Gen 6:18; Job 42:2-10; Dan. 1, 2) at strategic points in redemptive history, but even they could not deliver anyone but themselves.  Even the presence and prayers of the godly could not stop the coming judgment.  Genesis 18:22-32 and Jeremiah 5:1-4 provide rare exceptions to the principle that one person’s righteousness is no protection for others.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

My Thoughts

Maybe Dr. J. Vernon McGee, who I have quoted in the past and Elizabeth Ficken quotes above, is right.  Maybe there was a bit of a ham in Ezekiel.  Rev. MacArthur states that he “actually did what he was told.”  Incredulous to obey God, even when it is something weird?  I hope Rev. MacArthur was driving the point home that we need to do as God tells us, even when it might be uncomfortable or when, for the moment, it might not even make sense.  But we must know that the instructions come from God.  That is why this study is provided, but nothing beats reading the Bible, using your own commentaries, and discussing Scripture with those who you know are true believers and you can trust.  Ezekiel had enough proof in hearing God’s voice and knowing it was His voice.  Ezekiel’s greatest asset was that he obeyed.  Could Ezekiel, rather than being the ham, could he have been a wallflower who never wanted to be on stage, and when in a crowd, he sought solitude in the corner – and yet, he found the courage to do what he inwardly thought he had no skill in doing?

I wish I could have recorded the conversation, but I heard someone say that a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient was applauded for his bravery.  His response was something along the lines of, “Brave?  I’m not brave.  The heroes out there are the ones who are so scared that the run in the wrong direction.”  Could Ezekiel have been that scared?  Regardless, Ezekiel obeyed the Lord.

Ezekiel does as he is told, packing the bare essentials and breaking a hole in the wall and walking out at dusk.  When people asked, he explained that there will be further exiles.  The prince will try to escape but will be captured and will never see where he was taken.  In truth, Zedekiah was blinded before being sent into exile.  Then Ezekiel shivered while eating to illustrate that the people left in Judah will eat their meals in fear.

All of this was to illustrate that the exiled people had no home to return to.  They needed to realize that this was not an unpaid vacation in Babylon.  This was God’s judgment against them.  They needed to repent.  If they did not repent, they could never be prepared for a remnant to return.

But then, false prophets sprang from every corner saying that God had talked to them and what Ezekiel was saying was rubbish.  There should be no reason to repent.  Of course, the exiles, like anyone today, is going to hear the message they want to hear.  If you run around telling everyone that they are a sinner and they need to repent, the people that hear you will run away, but if you are handing out free money that is not free and making empty promises, they flock in your direction.  People are easily deceived.

As a result, Ezekiel had to address and condemn the false prophets themselves.  He especially addresses the female false prophets.  In reading the second half of Ezekiel 13, it seems that something may have been going on beyond a mere prophecy.  It seems counterproductive to spend what you must to purchase veils and magic charms in hopes that your prophecy will garner a bit of bread in return.  Yet, with the charms and veils, they “looked the part,” maybe reminding the Jews of the shrine prostitutes at the high places in Judah and surrounding areas.  This may have connected the prophetess’ prophecy with the worship of false gods, but maybe I am reading too much into it.  There are far too many “prophets” today who make a lot of money by telling people what they want to hear.

Then a group of elders visit Ezekiel.  They had idolatry within their hearts.  From what the Baker commentary says, these elders could have been the forerunners of the Pharisees, creating and holding to a multitude of rules.  They may have never bowed before a false god, yet they were idolatrous in their hearts.  They were influential; thus, they may have worshipped money or power.  And with money and power, they become enamored within themselves.

I have had similar meetings with “elders.”  They have told me that my insistence on bringing “Faith” into the forefront at church leader meetings was getting out of hand.  I should cease doing so.  It backfired.  I brought up the topic even more often.  I felt a cold chill just reading the first half of Ezekiel 14, with the memories having been long suppressed.

Yet, God does not waste time with them making demands or requests.  God deals with them.

There will be four judgments, and no one will be able to intercede for the people.  The greatest among the faithful will be lucky to survive themselves.  And truly, if everyone is to die by famine, plague, the sword, or wild beasts, the truly faithful will get their heavenly reward that much sooner.  That may be how God “rescues” the faithful.  Even so, some will remain.

But why Noah, Daniel, and Job?  With Noah, who was good at obeying God’s commands, even when they did not make sense, Noah was a beacon among the people.  A boat, made on dry land, that was that big, had to have attracted a crowd, until Noah told them to repent.  Then, he was just crazy old Noah.  The others knew what was coming, if they listened to “crazy” Noah, and Noah and his wife survived, along with his sons and their wives.

Daniel survived the Lion’s Den.  And by the time Satan was done with Job, Job only had his wife left, not even having his health.  Yet, Job survived, got healthy and thrived.

These three men stayed true to God.  They prayed.  Job went beyond simple prayer to insist on talking to God in person.  In spite of overwhelming circumstance for each of these three men, they remained faithful to God, trusting in Him.

That is the bottom line by mentioning those three men.  They prayed and regardless of the circumstances they trusted God, keeping their eyes on God and not their troubles.

Some Serendipitous Reflections

“1. Why do you think God cares so much that his people understand what he is going to do before he does it?  What if God’s revelation consisted of only event without any interpretation?  As it is, what part does human response play in the unfolding of divine revelation?
“2. Read 2 Peter 3:3-13 for another answer to the problem mentioned in verses 22 and 27.  Do you find it hard to wait for God to fulfill his promises?  Why do you think he delays?
“3. Evidently, prophetic signs of the future are meant to arrest our attention and prompt us to ask questions.  What questions do you have so far about what on earth God is doing (or not doing) to bring about his kingdom?
“4. In what ways do Christians play down what God is trying to say to the Church at the end of the 20th century?  What modern prophets do you think speak God’s words but whose message is ignored?
“1. How did Jesus distinguish between true and false prophets (see Mt 7:15-23; 23:13-28; 24:23-25)?  How do the warnings compare with Ezekiel’s?
“2. Can you think of any false prophets who are operating today?  What is their message?  How do you know they are false?
“3. Judging by your reading habits and whom you consult with, are you more concerned with ‘what the future holds’ or ‘who holds the future’?  What are you doing to reduce your anxiety level?
“1. What kind of idols might people have in their hearts today?  What stumbling block might you be fixating upon?
“2. What effect will mixed loyalties have on one’s relationship with God?  What action does God want you to take in this regard?
“1. Have you ever been tempted to think that, because of family or church ties, you were right with God?  What does God say about such an idea?
“2. Of these three – Noah, Daniel, and Job – who seems more heroic to you?  Why?
“3. On what hero in the political or religious arena are you pinning your hopes?  Or, are you captain of your own ship?
“4. In this chapter, what hope does God give you for surviving his future judgment?”

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

There are four sets of questions, one set for each chapter and a second set for chapter 14, which is divided between the elders visiting and the four judgments that will be inescapable.

I have so many questions about the questions.  The first question 3 makes a statement, but is God making signs that we are ignoring or not recognizing as signs?  What signs are people saying are signs?  Do they demand our attention?  In the first question 4, it should be modified to the early 21st century, but for the second part, who are our modern prophets?  Who were modern prophets who have recently passed away?  On my list, I have R. C. Sproul, Billy Graham, and Luis Palau that quickly come to mind. Who is carrying on in their absence?  There may be many more, some who speak God’s message in smaller circles, like a local pastor.

Many may produce vastly different lists of false prophets, for the second question 2.  Could some of the “prophets” on one person’s list in the first question 4 be on the false prophet list for another person for the second question 2?  Or vice versa?  That is where the last part of the question is so important for either list.  Why do you call one messenger of God a true messenger while another one a false prophet?  More important than opinion, what in the Bible guides you to that conclusion?

The last question 1 is a minefield.  For those who think they are saved, but are not, there is one set of answers.  For those who know they are saved there is a separate set of answers.  In a mixed crowd, this could get interesting, but you might want some battle armor.  In the last question 3, could there be a third option?  Do you not pin any trust upon man, but solely upon God?  But in saying that, what type of person would you want at the helm in government – forget political parties, the character of the person without any party platform to follow?

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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