|Ezekiel 13:1 Then the word of the LORD came to me saying,|
|Click here for all 46 times that "the word of the LORD came to" Ezekiel.
|Ezekiel 13:2 "Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy from their own inspiration, 'Listen to the word of the LORD!|
|Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy (Ezek 13:3,17; Jer 14:14; 23:16,26) Note that the audience here is the false prophets that were in captivity and who apparently were in opposition to Ezekiel. The false prophets had long flourished in Judah and clearly had been transported to Babylon as well. In Ezekiel 12:21-28 these false prophets were alluded to ("there will no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel") as the source of the "proverb" stating that much time had passed and the vision of God's genuine prophets had still not come to pass. Their conclusion: that the vision had failed. But they were wrong. And so was the saying that the vision was true but would never occur in their lifetime. Ezekiel was instructed to charge the prophets to listen to the Lord's word, not to their own hearts.
One might well ask the question "Why did God allow the false prophets to flourish?"
The answer is found in Deuteronomy
God, in His sovereignty, allowed false prophets to entice the people to test the true disposition of their hearts. Would they listen to God or the false prophets. All too often in Israel's history, they listened to the false rather than the true.
and say to those who prophesy from their own inspiration These prophets weren't speaking His Word, but their own words that came from their "own inspiration" or more literally, "their own heart".
Jeremiah reminds us what comes out of such hearts writing that the fallen, unredeemed
As we see in this section of Ezekiel, the end of these prophets would be according to their deeds.
By contrast a true prophet was one who spoke only God's will and was led by God's Spirit. And so Peter instructs us that
Similar Paul affirms that the
J. Vernon McGee comments
Listen to the word of the LORD (34:7,9; 1 Ki22:19; Is1:10; 28:14; Jer28:15; 29:20-24,31,32; Am7:16,17) (Click here for 27 uses of "hear the word of the Lord") It's ironic that prophets are told to listen to the Word of Yahweh.
|Ezekiel 13:3 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Woe to the foolish prophets who are following * their own spirit and have seen nothing.|
|GNB: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "These foolish prophets are doomed! They provide their own inspiration and invent their own visions.
GWT: "'This is what the Almighty LORD says: How horrible it will be for the foolish prophets. They follow their own ideas, and they have seen nothing.
NLT: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Destruction is certain for the false prophets who are following their own imaginations and have seen nothing at all!
|Thus says the Lord GOD
Woe (Ezek 13:18; 34:2; Jer23:1; Mt23:13-29; Lk 11:42-47,52; 1Co9:16) Click here for all 102 "woes" in Scripture. It is interesting to note that woe is used occasionally as a funeral lament. More often as in the present use "woe" was used to as an announcement of doom (41x it is used this way and only by the prophets). These wicked false prophets were under the judgment of God and faced a time of ruin and mourning. The only thing left for an unrepentant prophet and people was to mourn the destruction of their lives.
to the foolish prophets (Pr15:2,14; La2:14; Ho9:7; Zec11:15; Mt23:16-26; Lu11:40; 1Ti 6:4; 2Ti3:9) "Foolish" (nabal) does not mean they are stupid but that they are insensitive to God and His moral standards. In the original Hebrew there appears to be a play on words (nabal for foolish and nabiy for prophets) which means something like "profitless prophets." Their folly is primarily a moral rather than an intellectual deficiency. In Proverbs, for example, wisdom is set forth as the "fear of the Lord," and folly as disregard for Him and His precepts. The word nabal was used to describe people who blasphemed (Ps 74:18), who were arrogant (1Sam 25:25), who were atheistic (Ps 14:1), and who lacked self-discipline and humility. In the next phrase Ezekiel described the basic cause of their foolishness as their reliance on their own hearts and failure to seek God's revelation.
who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing. The force moving these prophets was their own spirit and not the Spirit of the Lord. As John MacArthur states
Denis Lane (The Cloud and the Silver Lining, pp. 53-62) aptly characterizes the false prophet's message as one which
Perhaps the best commentary on these prophet's "empty" message is found in Jeremiah, where God says that
|Ezekiel 12:13:4 "O Israel, your prophets have been like foxes among ruins.|
|O Israel, your prophets have been
like foxes among ruins (Song 2:15; Mic2:11; 3:5; Mt7:15; Ro16:18; 2Co11:13-15; Ga2:4; Ep 4:14; 2Th2:9,10; 1Ti4:1,2; Titus1:10-12; Rev13:11-14; 19:20) Some interpret the Hebrew word as "jackals" but the picture conveyed is similar of mischievous, deceptive, destructive carnivores who forage on ruins
MacDonald comments that these
Just as foxes consider ruins to be a perfectly acceptable "home," so also the false prophets were able to flourish in a crumbling society, roaming amid the rubble of ruined city walls.
The false prophets
Paul aptly describes the character of these "foxes" writing that
Although describing NT false apostles, Paul's description certainly applies to these false OT prophets
|Ezekiel 13:5 "You have not gone up into the breaches, nor did you build the wall around the house of Israel to stand in the battle on the day of the LORD.|
|BBE: You have not gone up into the broken places or made up the wall for the children of Israel to take your place in the fight in the day of the Lord.
CEV: They don't warn the people about coming trouble or tell them how dangerous it is to sin against me.
CSB: They have done nothing to strengthen the breaks in the walls around the nation. They have not helped it to stand firm in battle on the day of the LORD.
GNB: They don't guard the places where the walls have crumbled, nor do they rebuild the walls, and so Israel cannot be defended when war comes on the day of the LORD.
GW: They haven't repaired the gaps in the wall or rebuilt the wall for the nation of Israel. So Israel will not be protected in battle on the day of the LORD.
MSG: They haven't lifted a finger to repair the defenses of the city and have risked nothing to help Israel stand on GOD's Day of Judgment.
NCV: Israel is like a house in ruins, but you have not gone up into the broken places or repaired the wall. So how can Israel hold back the enemy in the battle on the Lord's day of judging?
NLT: They have done nothing to strengthen the breaks in the walls around the nation. They have not helped it to stand firm in battle on the day of the LORD.
You have not gone up into the breaches, (gaps, breaks in the wall) (22:30; Ex17:9-13; 32:11,12; Nu16:21,22,47,48; 1Sa12:23; Ps106:23; Jer15:1; 23:22; 27:18; Mal1:9) (Is58:12; La2:13,14)
In a time of siege when there are literal gaps or breaches in the walls which allow the enemy easy access, it is the part of the leaders to go up to defend them, and to throw up works to stop the influx of the enemy. In context, the "breaches" figuratively speak of Israel's sin and unless the people were called to repent, the vengeance of God would break through the "breach". Israel's "watchmen" had failed to repair the spiritual breach! (cf Ezek 3:16-21)
Adam Clarke paraphrases this verse as
The psalmist records Moses' example of standing in the "breach" at a time the Lord had determined
How did Moses stand in the breach? He interceded for them (Ex 32:10-14), something the false prophets clearly did not do.
God later declares
The Lord sought in vain for a man in a position of authority and with the moral qualities to stem the tide of ruin and turn the fortunes of the people, but there was none to be found (Jeremiah had the qualities but was not accepted as the authority by the Jews in Judah). This is a tragic testimony by the Lord Himself! Will He say the same some day for America?
The application is clear for all NT believers living in a society in which moral standards are under attack by hostile, God hating secularists. As those who
we are called to stand in the gap like Moses and to intercede for our society, that perchance God might stay His hand of judgment. Similarly, we are called to stand in the gap and intercede for the true church and those who lead her. What are you doing to stand in the gap? Although it is difficult to understand and even more difficult to explain, remember that
To influence others for God, intercede with God for others. (Click here, here or here for illustration on intercession from Our Daily Bread) Remember that the most powerful position on earth is kneeling before the Lord of the universe. Although the context is different, the principle applies that
In context the "breaches" in the wall refer to Israel's sin against God, something the false prophets did not seek to "repair". Jeremiah writes to Israel that the false prophets
If the false prophets of Jerusalem had, in fact, rebuked the sins of the people, and if the people had repented, God would have relented of the threat of judgment of the exile. The verse serves as a solemn reminder of the responsibility of "watchmen on the wall" to warn and their accountability if they kept silent or even more deceptively proclaimed a false hope as did the false prophets.
Dearly beloved watchman, remember that as a NT believer, you are in a sense a "prophet" (literally one who speaks forth) in that you have God's Holy Word and can speak forth His Word as needed to expose sin. If you see sin in the camp of your church and remain silent, not only are you culpable, but the results will be devastating.
As Matthew Henry comments
Commit to pray and intercede--
nor did you build the wall (hedge) around the house of Israel to stand in the battle (Job40:9; Ps76:7; Is27:4; Ep6:13,14; Rev16:14; 20:8,9) The false prophets did nothing to shore up the spiritual defenses the captives so desperately needed in the face of judgment.
John Calvin adds that those
Day of the LORD (Click here for more discussion of this great and terrible "day") (Ezek30:3; Is2:12; 13:6,9; 34:8; Joel 1:15; 2:1,31; 3:14; Am5:18-20; Zeph1:14-18; 2:2,3; Mal4:5; 1Th5:2; 2Pe3:10; Rev6:17) (Click here for all Scripture occurrences of the "day of the LORD") The meaning of this time phrase is dependent on the context. Clearly, in Ezekiel's prophecy some 5 or so years prior to the fall of Jerusalem, the "day of the LORD" refers to the third and final assault of Babylon on Judah with destruction of the Holy Temple and exile of the inhabitants.
This phrase occurs some 22 times in the OT (click here and note Isa58:13 although in this list refers to a different context) and 4 times in the NT (Acts 2:20; 1Th5:2; 2Th2:2; 2Pe 3:10) and is a Biblical term referring to a time of God's extreme anger or wrath. The "day of the LORD" can refer to a near future judgment (Ezek 13:5; 30:3) or a far future judgment (Zec 14:1; 2Th 2:2). Two "day of the LORD" expressions yet remain to be fulfilled, one at the end of Daniel's 70th week (see Joel 3:14; Mal 4:5; 1Th 5:2) and the other at the end of the Millennium (see 2Pe 3:10-note).
The Nelson study Bible adds that
|Ezekiel 13:6 "They see falsehood and lying divination who are saying 'The LORD declares' when the LORD has not sent them; yet they hope for the fulfillment of their word.|
|They see falsehood (vanity) and lying divination who are saying, (Ezek 13:23; 12:23,24; 22:28; La2:14; 2Pe2:18) (21:23,29; Je14:14; 29:8; Zec10:2)(7; Je23:31,32; 28:2,15)
Divination (qesem) is the the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers, signs or omens using one of several modes of divination including the position of the stars, speaking with dead spirits, examining animal parts (especially liver) or potsherds or casting lots for a yes or no answer. And as with all other manifestations of the occult, this practice was outlawed in Israel and spoken of with scorn. Moses writes that
Nebuchadnezzar employs this very method as he prepares to destroy Jerusalem, Ezekiel recording that
The LORD declares,' when the LORD has not sent them; These false prophets deceitfully prefaced their falsehood and lying divination with the classic prophetic formula suggesting divine authority -- "The LORD declares." Despite their sincerity and their comforting message these deceiving prophets were wrong, the next phrase showing that they themselves were thoroughly deceived. Note that it is not enough for a "prophet" or NT teacher to be sincere. They may be very sincere and yet be sincerely wrong. Sincerity is not synonymous with legitimacy. They may claim to represent God but here God did not "claim" them!
Bait-And-Switch- Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, . . . because many false prophets have gone out into the world. --1John4:1
In an unethical selling technique called the bait-and-switch method, a retailer lures customers into his store by advertising a well-known product at a very low price. When the buyer asks to purchase it, however, he is told that it is out of stock. The salesperson then tries to sell him an inferior line of merchandise, hoping to pocket a bigger profit. The brand name was used just to get potential customers to step inside.
In a similar way, a false teacher uses biblical words to capture interest and gain a hearing (Ed note: or as with the false prophets who make the claim that they are God's "mouthpiece"). He may talk about Christ, redemption, the cross, and the resurrection, but these "trusted terms" amount to nothing more than a come-on. The "seller" uses them to advertise truths that, as far as he is concerned, are "out of stock." When an interested person responds, he is confronted by beliefs that are completely contrary to God's Word.
Never swallow someone's line just because he uses terms of the Christian faith (Ed note: or because he says "The Lord spoke these words to me..."). Ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern whether or not the speaker is really being true to the Bible. Then you won't get hooked by false teachers who use the doctrinal bait-and-switch method to deceive their hearers. --M R De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
When someone comes along who says
His message is from God,
What he believes about the Lord
Will show if it is flawed. --Sper
Error often wears the disguise of truth
yet they hope for the fulfillment of their word. (Ezek 13:22; 1Ki 22:6,27,37; Pr14:15; Je29:31; 37:19; Mk13:6,22,23; 2Th2:11) "yet they expect the fulfillment of their word" (NET) This declaration shows that these deceivers were themselves deceived by their own lying lips. Paul emphasizes this same principle writing that
|Did you not see a false vision and speak a lying divination when you said, `The LORD declares,' but it is not I who have spoken?
Jeremiah records a similar message declaring
God's declaration regarding these deceptive messages is
False doctrine, the deceit of one's heart, draws people away from God and His truth just as idolatry does.
|Ezekiel 13:8 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, "Because you have spoken falsehood and seen a lie, therefore behold, I am against you," declares the Lord GOD.|
Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, "Because you have spoken falsehood and seen a lie, therefore
"I am against you" declares the Lord GOD. (Ezek5:8; 21:3; 26:3; 28:22; 29:3,4,10; 35:3; 38:3,4; 39:1; Jer50:31,32; Jer51:25; Nahum 2:13; 3:5,6; 1 Ti4:1,8;) (Click here for 9x God says "I am against you" in Ezekiel) God's verdict was simple and clear: "I am against you"
As Peter records
|Ezekiel 13:9 "So My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will have no place in the council of My people, nor will they be written down in the register of the house of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel, that you may know that I am the Lord GOD.|
|So My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. (Ezek 11:13; 14:9,10; Ps101:7; Jer20:3-6; 28:15-17; 29:21,22,31,32; Rev19:20)
They will have no place in the council of My people, (Ex32:32,33; Ezr2:59,62,63; Neh7:62,64; Ps69:5,28; 87:6; Is4:3; Da12:1; Ho 9:3; Luke 10:20; Php4:3; Heb12:23; Rev13:8; 20:12,15) The false prophets would lose their influence (council). The false prophets had enjoyed favor among Israel's leaders. They were in positions of influence both in Jerusalem and in the exile; but after their prophecies were proved false, they would lose this favor.
nor will they be written down in the register of the house of Israel, (Ezek 20:38) The false prophets would lose their citizenship (register), in essence being "cut off" from Israel. Their names would not be recorded in the city's list of citizens. These false prophets would be excommunicated from the fellowship of Israel. In Ezra a we read concerning those who had returned from Babylonian captivity that one group descended from the priestly line "searched among their ancestral registration, but they could not be located; therefore they were considered unclean and excluded from the priesthood." (Ezra 2:62) In contrast to this near future fulfillment of this prophetic judgment, is a far future fulfillment of these men and of all whose names are
nor will they enter the land of Israel, (Ezek 11:10,12; 12:20; 1Ki22:24,25; Jer 23:20) False prophets would lose their lose their right to return to their homeland after the 70 year period of exile. The near future fulfillment is that they would die as captives in a foreign land. This verse however speaks of a far future fulfillment in which they will not be resurrected with other Old Testament saints at the beginning of the millennial reign of Messiah in the land of Israel (cf Da12:1, 2) Daniel a true prophet of God for example is instructed
that you may know that I am the Lord GOD The purpose of God's judgment was to stimulate the false prophets to repent and turn to the Lord and know that He was the only true God. The implication is that they even these wicked men still had an opportunity to repent and come to the Messiah and eternal salvation.
We recall that in Exodus 7:5 God declared that
The ironic tragedy is that the revelation of God's character should have come through judgment on Israel's enemies, but the wickedness of God's people made it necessary for Him to reveal Himself in judgment upon them also.
|Ezekiel 13:10 "It is definitely because they have misled My people by saying, 'Peace!' when there is no peace. And when anyone builds a wall, behold, they plaster it over with whitewash;|
|It is definitely because (literally "because even because" = emphasis) they have misled (seduced) My people (2Ki 21:9; Pr 12:26; Jer 23:13-15; 1Ti 4:1; 2Ti 3:13; 1Jn2:26; Rev2:20) These false prophets were responsible at least in part for causing God's people to err and to wander from the truth.
by saying, `Peace!' when there is no peace. (Ezek 13:16; Is57:21; Jer4:10; 6:14; 8:11,15; 14:13; 23:17; 28:9; Mal3:15) The false prophets in exile offered the captives a false hope just as did the false prophets in Jerusalem, Jeremiah recording the words of
Earlier Jeremiah records God's lament that
The false prophets of Judah were assuring the people that they were safe in their sins, only "slightly" rebuking them, just as do many modern religious leaders. There may be outward freedom from calamity for a time, but there can be no real peace among men until there is true peace between men and God (cf Ro5:1ff) Of course, this was a popular message, and the disillusioned Babylonian exiles and frightened Jews in Jerusalem grabbed it and held on to it. But the false prophets hadn't heard that message in God's council but had made it up out of their own hearts. Instead of peace, a storm was brewing from the Lord. God was about to vent His holy anger on His sinful people, and when they finally understood His purposes, it would be too late to stop the whirlwind.
MacDonald adds that
God is very direct in Isaiah declaring
Danger Ahead!-Messages of judgment in an age of tolerance are about as welcome as a thunderstorm at a picnic. That was just as true in Jeremiah's (Ed note: and Ezekiel's) day as it is today. Back then, the Lord told the prophet to stand in the court of the temple and speak boldly to the people about their sin. Jeremiah warned the people of Jerusalem that destruction was headed their way if they didn't follow God's laws.
How did they react? The people seized him and said, "You will surely die!" (Jer. 26:8). Jeremiah's life was in danger because he had dared to speak the truth.
In spite of the threats, Jeremiah repeated his warning. After reconsidering, the officials and people said to the priests and false prophets,
Jeremiah's dilemma points out two important truths.
First, a message of warning will not be eagerly received by those who need to be warned. Second, we must give the warnings and then trust God to protect us.
See any danger signs on the horizon for people you know? Perhaps you need to do the hard thing: With God's guidance, lovingly give them the warning they need. --J D Brannon
Thinking It Over
Do you need to give a loving warning to someone?
What do James 5:19-20 and Jude 22-23 say about that?
What should be our attitude in this process? (Gal. 6:1).
Sometimes love must hurt before it can help
And when anyone builds a wall, behold, they plaster it over with whitewash; (22:28; 2Ch18:12; Is30:10; Je5:31; Mic2:11)
John MacArthur adds that these
Expositor's Bible Commentary takes a different view of this section (vv11-15) commenting that
The Bible Knowledge Commentary takes the symbolic approach commenting that
Adam Clarke adds that a
The IVP Bible Background Commentary adds that
|Ezekiel 13:11 so tell those who plaster it over with whitewash, that it will fall. A flooding rain will come, and you, O hailstones *, will fall; and a violent wind will break out.|
|so tell those who plaster it over with whitewash, that it will fall. The words of the fraudulent spokesmen were like an unstable wall. The "wall" they built would not protect the people but was something that would collapse at the slightest touch, though they had dressed it handsomely with plaster. When the "Babylonian storms" came, the wall would collapse. This "collapse" reminds one of Jesus' lesson of the two foundations, declaring that
A flooding rain will come, and you, O hailstones, will fall; and a violent wind will break out. (Ezek 38:22; Job 27:21; Psalms 11:6; 18:13,14; 32:6; Isaiah 25:4; 28:2,15-18; Isaiah 29:6; 32:19; Nahum 1:3,7,8; Matthew 7:25,27; Luke 6:48,49)
|Ezekiel 13:12 "Behold, when the wall has fallen, will you not be asked, 'Where is the plaster with which you plastered it?"'|
|Behold, when the wall has fallen, will you not be asked,
`Where is the plaster with which you plastered it? (Deuteronomy 32:37; Judges 9:38; 10:14; 2 Kings 3:13; Jeremiah 2:28; 29:31,32; 37:19; Lamentations 2:14,15)
|Ezekiel 13:13 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, "I will make a violent wind break out in My wrath. There will also be in My anger a flooding rain and hailstones * to consume it in wrath.|
|Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, "I will make a violent wind break out in My wrath (Leviticus 26:28; Isaiah 30:30; Psalms 107:25; 148:8; Jeremiah 23:19; Jonah 1:4) God's wrath is intended to introduce Himself to His people and is His inevitable expression against persistent sin. When God's love does not win a response of faith and obedience, God's wrath is the inevitable result. Wrath is the withdrawal of His pity.
There will also be in My anger a flooding rain and hailstones to consume it in wrath. (Exodus 9:18-29; Psalms 18:12,13; 105:32; 148:8; Isaiah 30:30; Haggai 2:17; Revelation 8:7; Revelation 11:19; 16:21)
MacArthur interpreting this section figuratively feels that
|Ezekiel 13:14 "So I will tear down the wall which you plastered over with whitewash and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation is laid bare; and when it falls, you will be consumed in its midst. And you will know that I am the LORD.|
|So I will tear down the wall which you plastered over with whitewash and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation is laid bare (Ps11:3; Mic1:6; Hab3:13; Mt7:26,27; Lk 6:49; 1Co3:11-15)
and when it falls, you will be consumed in its midst (Jer6:15; 8:12; 14:15; 23:15)
The Nelson study Bible interprets the verse more literally commenting that
And you will know that I am the LORD. (Ezek 13:9,21,23; 14:8) which again emphasizes that even God's judgment has a purpose.
|Ezekiel 13:15 "Thus I will spend My wrath on the wall and on those who have plastered it over with whitewash; and I will say to you, 'The wall is gone and its plasterers are gone,|
|Thus I will spend My wrath on the wall and on those who have plastered it over with whitewash; and I will say to you, The phrase "My wrath" occurs 54 times (click here) in the Scripture with almost one half of the occurrences in Ezekiel. To &qquot;spend" means first of all to cease or to stop and in the present context means to bring to an end, to complete or to finish His wrath. The near future fulfillment of this prophecy clearly refers to the fall and destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC but the far future fulfillment will be in the final three and one-half year period, the time of Jacob's distress, when the Jews will experience "great tribulation" (Mt 24:21), "in order to refine, purge, and make them (referring in context to Jews) pure, until the end time" (Da11:35).
Daniel later adds that
`The wall is gone and its plasterers are gone, (Neh4:3; Ps 62:3)
Isaiah (speaking to rebellious Judah in the reign of Hezekiah) records that their
|Ezekiel 13:16 along with the prophets of Israel who prophesy to Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace,' declares the Lord GOD.|
|along with the prophets of Israel who prophesy to Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace,' declares the Lord GOD. (Ezek 13:10; Jer5:31; 6:14; 8:11; 28:1,9-17; 29:31) (Isa 48:22; 57:20,21)
In Jeremiah God says that "The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?" (Jer 5:31)
Isaiah comments that