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13:1 Then the
word of the
came to me
for all 46 times that "the
word of the LORD came to"
Mart De Haan respected author of
Radio Bible Class fame writes "What if I told you that God has been
speaking to me about an issue that I haven’t been able to put out of
my mind? Because you know me, you don’t think I’m claiming to have
heard God speak in an audible voice. You assume that I have had an
idea that I believe has the signature of God written all over it. So
you decide to hear me out.
Listen to what I’m saying
You hear me say, “I’ve been praying about what we can do to
reach more people with the message of hope and peace, and the Lord has
laid on my heart that we’ve been too cautious. We need to believe God
for miracles, take risks of faith, and commit ourselves to outreach
projects that, admittedly, are beyond our ability to afford. After
asking God for clear direction, He has given me a pretty amazing
vision for an idea I want to talk to you about.”
As you listen, you try to keep an open mind, but are not able to
share my enthusiasm. You think the idea sounds more like presumption
than a way to show our faith. But you don’t say this to my face,
because who are you to tell me that I haven’t heard from the Lord?
What are you to make of this?
What’s happening here? Why am I able to believe God for a
miracle but you are not? Is it possible that I have a sensitive ear to
the Lord’s leading while you are more inclined to depend on human
logic? Or am I using “spiritual talk” as a cover for my own ambition?
These are not easy issues to talk about. None of us want our
efforts for Christ to be motivated by human agenda. We want our
leaders to be prayerful, spiritually sensitive, and responsive to what
they believe God wants us to do. The Bible makes it clear that God
uses people to speak on His behalf. The apostle Paul advised the
Thessalonians, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies”
(1Thes 5:19, 20-note).
I’m convinced, though, that the possible misuse of
spiritual-sounding language and “God talk” gives us reason to think
carefully about how we use phrases like these:
“God has been
speaking to me…”
“I’ve been praying about this…”
“The Lord has laid this on my heart…”
“God told me to say…”
“I was led to come to you…”
“God revealed to me…”
“God reminded me of a Scripture…”
“God called to my mind…”
What are the
Sometimes we talk like this to let others hear our desire to be
in step with God. On other occasions we use such phrases as a way of
writing God’s signature under our ideas to make it difficult for
others to disagree with us. We sense, even subconsciously, that when
people hear us talk about “what God has laid on our heart,” they will
be less apt to ask questions.
We can’t afford to
be gullible or naïve
After saying, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise
prophecies,” the apostle Paul went on to say, “Test all things” (1Th
The apostle John also said in his first New Testament letter, “Test
the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1John 4:1 NIV). Both
Paul and John reflect a caution that had been expressed earlier by the
prophet Ezekiel. In the sixth
century before Christ, he quoted God as saying, “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!’ ” (Ezekiel 13:1, 2, 3
A subtle misuse of
If we casually say, “God said to me” or “The Lord spoke to my
heart,” we blur the lines between what we know God said in His Word
and what we think He might have said through our inner awareness.
This erasing of boundaries is an important issue. Even under the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul was careful to
distinguish between the Word of God and his own personal conviction
At stake is our own discernment and the honor of the Word of God.
If in normal conversation we speak as if what God says to us through
our inner inclinations is equal to what He has said through Scripture,
we are competing, even unintentionally, with the authority of the
Honoring the Word of God
So the question then becomes, “How do we speak for God?” After
all, the apostle Peter wrote, “If anyone speaks, he should do it as
one speaking the very words of God” (1Peter 4:11-note).
Our answer needs to be rooted in an honest and reverent respect for
the difference between our thoughts and God’s thoughts. If we are sure
that God has said something in Scripture, we need to quote Him
accurately and with conviction. If we believe we are thinking in a
manner that is consistent with His thoughts, then we need to say, “I
think,” or “I believe this is a course of action that would please
God,” or “I believe this direction is consistent with the teachings of
Scripture.” The key factor is honesty.
The addition of “I think” or “I believe” may seem like a small matter.
But the issue is big. It is the issue that God Himself expressed to
Ezekiel when he said, “They say, ‘The Lord declares,’ when the Lord
has not sent them; yet they expect their words to be fulfilled. Have
you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say,
‘The Lord declares,’ though I have not spoken?” (Ezekiel 13:6, 7).
Dear Lord, Help us to be sensitive to Your Spirit. We want to speak
in Your behalf. We don’t want to misquote You. Please help us to show
complete confidence in what You have revealed, while being open to
questions about our own judgment and opinions." (from Mart De Haan,
say to those who
prophesy from their
word of the
|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
"If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises
among you and gives you a sign or a wonder and the sign or the wonder comes
true (signs and wonders that came true was an indicator of a true
prophet (Dt 18:22)
but were never meant to be the final test of truth - This warning is as
relevant today as it was in ancient Israel, especially in view of the wide
resurgence of occultism, new age, and all kinds of paranormal phenomena--all
opposing true Biblical Christianity) , concerning which he spoke to you,
saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us
serve them,' (this should immediately identify a false prophet) you
shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for
the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God
with all your heart and with all your soul. "You shall follow the LORD your
God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice,
serve Him, and cling to Him. "But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams
shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD
your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the
house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God
commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you." (Dt
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
Jeremiah reminds us what comes out of such hearts
writing that the fallen, unredeemed
"heart is more deceitful than all
else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?", adding that "the
LORD, (searches) the heart, (tests) the mind, even to
give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his
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
"no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but
men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." (2Pet 1:21-note).
Similar Paul affirms that the
"things (which he speaks are) not in words taught by human wisdom, but in
those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual
words." (1Cor 2:13)
J. Vernon McGee comments
was the problem? These prophets prophesied "out of their own hearts."
God have mercy on the man who stands in the pulpit and gives his own
viewpoints and does not give the Word of God. These men were merely giving
what they thought: how to make friends, influence people, think positively,
be self-reliant, and think of yourself as a wonderful individual, not as a
sinner. This was their message: "Everything is all right in Jerusalem."
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.
"Woe to the
* their own
spirit and have
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "These foolish prophets are doomed!
They provide their own inspiration and invent their own visions.
"'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!
says the Lord GOD
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.
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
Spurious spokesmen prophesy subjectively out of their
minds while claiming to have revelation and authority from the Lord.
J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word
Denis Lane (The Cloud and the Silver
Lining, pp. 53–62) aptly characterizes the false prophet's message as one
never rose higher than the preachers’ own minds. It deceptively
claimed to be God’s word. It had no practical or useful effect. It offered
cheap grace and a false peace. It simply endorsed the latest world view.
Perhaps the best commentary on these
prophet's "empty" message is found in Jeremiah, where God says that
prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word
speak My word in truth. What does
(the false prophet's words were like animal fodder) have in common
grain (God's Word spoken by God's
prophets was nutritious and like wheat was vital to life, in this case
spiritual life)?" declares the LORD. Is not My word like fire?" declares
the LORD, "and like a hammer which shatters a rock? Therefore behold, I am
against the prophets," declares the LORD "who steal My words from each
other. Behold, I am against the prophets," declares the LORD, "who use their
tongues and declare, 'The Lord declares. '"Behold, I am against those who
have prophesied false dreams," declares the LORD, "and related them, and led
My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not
send them or command them,
nor do they furnish this people the
declares the LORD." (Je 23:28-32)
|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
"False religious leaders, like foxes in the
deserts, are always looking for prey in the midst of destruction, filling
their own needs and desires."
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or
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
"were like foxes
among the ruins because they scavenged for themselves while causing,
ignoring, and profiting from the human wreckage surrounding them. They were
racketeers instead of reformers." (The Nelson study Bible : Nashville:
T. Nelson Publishers)
describes the character of these "foxes" writing that
such men are
slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their
smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting."
Although describing NT false apostles, Paul's description certainly applies
to these false OT prophets
"for such men are (also)... deceitful
workers, disguising themselves as (false prophets of God). And
no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore
it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of
righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds." (2Cor11:13,
13:5 "You have not
gone up into the
nor did you
stand in the
battle on the
day of the
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.
They don't warn the people about coming trouble or tell them how dangerous
it is to sin against me.
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
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.
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
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.
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?
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
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
paraphrases this verse as
Far from opposing sinners, who are bringing down the wrath of God upon
the place, you prevent their repentance by your flattering promises and
false predictions. Ye have neither by prayers, example, nor advice,
contributed any thing for the preservation of the place, or the salvation of
the people’s souls.
The psalmist records Moses' example of
standing in the "breach" at a time the Lord had determined
He would destroy them (referring to Israel for her sin of idolatry -
golden calf), had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach
before Him, to turn away His wrath from destroying them." (Ps 106:23)
How did Moses stand in the breach? He interceded for them (Ex
something the false prophets clearly did not do.
God later declares
I searched for a
man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap
before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one."
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
and groan over all the abominations which are being committed" (Ezek
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,
intervention is often the result of our intercession."
To influence others for God, intercede with God for
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
those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins... will raise up the
age-old foundations and ... will be called the repairer of the breach, the
restorer of the streets in which to dwell."
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
have seen for you false and foolish visions; and they have
not exposed your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity (thus
this accusation is addressed especially to the false prophets in captivity),
but they have seen for you false and misleading oracles." (Lam
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
As Matthew Henry
Prophets should tell people of
their faults, should show them their sins, that they may bring them to
repentance, and so prevent their ruin; but these prophets (those
Jeremiah and Ezekiel were addressing) knew that would lose them the
people’s affections and contributions, and knew they could not reprove their
hearers without reproaching themselves at the same time...."
Commit to pray
The battle's strong and great is the need;
And this one truth can't be ignored:
Our only help comes from the Lord. --Sper
nor did you build the wall
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
teachers who discharge their duties honestly and sincerely are like
builders, who, if they see a breach in a wall, instantly and carefully
repair it: they are like gardeners who do not allow either a field or a
vineyard to be exposed to wild beasts."
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
(see 2Pe 3:10-note).
The Nelson study Bible
The day of the LORD
refers to times when God triumphs. The
phrase is particularly used by the prophets to describe those periods in
which God is unusually active in the affairs of His people, either for
deliverance or for judgment. In that day, God will actively bring about His
purposes for the world (Ed note: God is always sovereignly orchestrating
events to bring about His purposes, but this
will see a culmination of His righteous power and justice visible to all)
: He will rescue the righteous and judge evildoers."
(The Nelson study Bible: New King James Version. Nashville: T. Nelson
divination who are
declares' when the
LORD has not
sent them; yet they
hope for the
fulfillment of their
|They see falsehood
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)
(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
There shall not be found among
you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who
uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets
omens, or a sorcerer...For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen
to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the
Lord your God has not allowed you to do so." (Dt 18:10,14)
Nebuchadnezzar employs this very
method as he prepares to destroy Jerusalem, Ezekiel recording that
king of Babylon stands at the parting of the way, at the head of the two
ways, to use divination; he shakes the arrows, he consults the
household idols, he looks at the liver. Into his right hand came the
divination, ‘Jerusalem,’ to set battering rams, to open the mouth for
slaughter, to lift up the voice with a battle cry, to set battering rams
against the gates, to cast up mounds, to build a siege wall. And it will be
to them like a false divination in their eyes; they have sworn solemn
oaths. But he brings iniquity to remembrance, that they may be seized."
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.
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
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
When someone comes along who
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
evil men and impostors
(originally one who chants spells, as a wizard or sorcerer - see discussion
prophetesses in the latter part of Ezekiel 13) will proceed
from bad to worse, deceiving (leading astray) and being
deceived (led astray)." (2Ti 3:13-note)
divination when you
declares,' but it is
not I who have
|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
Ah, Lord GOD!" I said, "Look, the prophets are telling them,
'You will not see the sword nor will you have famine, but I will give you
lasting peace in this place.'" Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets are
prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded
them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision,
divination, futility and the deception of their own minds." (Jer14:13,
God's declaration regarding these deceptive messages is
"I have heard
what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in My name, saying,
‘I had a dream, I had a dream!’ “How long? Is there anything in the hearts
of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the
deception of their own heart, who intend to make My people forget My
name by their dreams which they relate to one another, just as their fathers
forgot My name because of Baal?" (Jer 23:25, 26, 27)
False doctrine, the deceit of one’s
heart, draws people away from God and His truth just as idolatry does.
"Because you have
behold, I am
says the Lord GOD, "Because you have spoken falsehood and seen a lie,
"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
"THE EYES OF THE
LORD ARE UPON THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE
FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL." (1Pe 3:12-note)
Ezekiel 13:9 "So
hand will be
place in the
council of My
nor will they be
down in the
register of the
nor will they
Israel, that you may
know that I am the
|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
nor will they be written down in
the register of the house of Israel,
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
written in the book of life" and who therefore will be "thrown into
the lake of fire." (Rev 20:15-note)
nor will they enter the land of
(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
go your way to the end; then you will enter into
rest and rise again (resurrection) for your allotted portion at the
end of the age.” (cf Da12:13)
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
We recall that in
Exodus 7:5 God declared that
"the Egyptians will know that I
am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the
Israelites out of it.”
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.
because they have
peace. And when
|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
the Lord of hosts"
who says “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying
to you. They are leading you into futility. They speak a vision of their own
imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who
despise Me, ‘The Lord has said,
will have peace”‘;
and as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, they
’Calamity will not come upon you.’
But who has stood in the council of the Lord, that he should see and
hear His word? Who has given heed to His word and listened? Behold, the
storm of the Lord has gone forth in wrath, even a whirling tempest. It will
swirl down on the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord will not turn
back until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart. In
the last days you will clearly understand it."
Earlier Jeremiah records God's lament
have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace,
peace,' But there is no peace." (Jer 6:14)
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
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
false message of the prophets has brought a slight (qalal, Heb.,
“trifle,” “scant”) healing to the people. Yet this is temporary and
superficial. False religion and theological liberalism are always ready to
accuse those who are faithful to God’s word of pessimism. But far worse is
the crime against humanity perpetrated by those perpetual optimists who, in
their ignorance of the mind and nature of God, announce peace and hope,
bringing false hope of a temporary and unreal nature to the people when, in
fact, there is no peace."
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or
God is very direct in Isaiah declaring
There is no peace for the wicked."
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,
This man does not
deserve to die. For he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our
God" (Jer. 26:16).
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;
(the people) is building a party-wall (wall of stones loosely piled
together without mortar), and behold them (the prophets) daubing it with
marly clay plaster, or whitewash.
C F: Wycliffe Bible Commentary. 1981. Moody
John MacArthur adds that these
False prophets had lulled the people into false
security. Phony “peace” promises, while sin continued on the brink of God’s
judgment, was a way, so to speak, of erecting a defective “wall” and
whitewashing it to make it look good. Such an unsafe “wall” was doomed to
collapse (v11) when God would bring His storm, picturing the
invaders’ assault (v11)."
J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word
Expositor's Bible Commentary takes a
different view of this section (vv11-15) commenting that
The judgment of
the prophets was described in terms of their participation in "whitewashing".
The prophets had implemented their proclamations of peace through helping
the people remodel their homes and decorate them in this time of false
security. Some expositors (Ed note: the majority) look
on the "walls" in this passage as symbolic, referring to the outer
deception of the prophets. The "flimsy wall" may be seen as a
metaphor for the prophets' flimsy prophecies of "peace,"
whitewashed over to make them look strong and substantial. This, however,
would equate the two clauses in v.10 that lead to the conclusion of v.11.
Moreover, a non-literal
interpretation is not required. If the prophets
were declaring a time of peace and prosperity, it was not out of line for
them to encourage home building. Consequently they had gone around
plastering walls and helping people decorate the thin partitions of their
homes. It was the confirmation of a "settle down and live" philosophy.
However, God declared that these walls and their decorative plaster would
fall beneath the raging rains of his anger and the hail and violent wind of
his wrath. When the walls would be destroyed, so also would the prophets be
consumed in the destruction. No one would be concerned about house
decorations then. God would establish another new proverb: "The wall is gone
and so are those who whitewashed it"
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary OT 7 Volume Set: Books: Zondervan
Pradis = computer version)
The Bible Knowledge Commentary takes the
symbolic approach commenting that
Instead of calling Israel’s attention
to the serious cracks (breaches) in its moral foundation,
these prophets were ”dabbing plaster“ to hide the deficiencies. A
white paste, formed from the chalk deposits in Israel, was used to plaster
over the rocks that formed the walls of most houses. This plaster hid uneven
rocks under a smooth surface. The prophets were compounding Israel’s
difficulties by hiding problems that needed to be exposed...The ”whitewash“
was their false prophecies; and when Jerusalem was destroyed, this would be
Adam Clarke adds
A true prophet is as a wall of defense to the
people. These false prophets pretend to be a wall of defense; but
their wall is bad, and their mortar is worse. One gives a lying vision,
another pledges himself that it is true; and the people believe what they
say, and trust not in God, nor turn from their sins."
The IVP Bible Background Commentary
Ezekiel uses an analogy similar to that in Jeremiah
6:14 and 8:11. In both prophets reality is covered up and people delude
believing that a wound is not serious or a wall is sturdy. It reflects the
tendency to hide structural problems with cosmetic solutions. Mesopotamian
law codes also deal with unscrupulous builders and homeowners who neglect
repairs or attempt to hide unsafe workmanship (see both the Laws of Eshnunna
and Hammurabi’s Code)."
tell those who
whitewash, that it
come, and you, O
fall; and a
|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
hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise
man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the
floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it
did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears
these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish
man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the
floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell,
and great was its fall." (Mt 7:24-29).
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)
fallen, will you not
'Where is the
|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;
GOD, "I will make a
break out in My
wrath. There will
also be in My
consume it in
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
"These descriptions are all images belonging to
the illustration of the wall, not meant to convey real wind, flood, and
hail. The Babylonians were the actual destroyers of Israel’s hypocritical
J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word
down to the
ground, so that its
bare; and when it
falls, you will be
consumed in its
midst. And you will
know that I am the
|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
and when it falls, you will be consumed
in its midst (Jer6:15; 8:12;
The Nelson study Bible interprets the
verse more literally commenting that
"These prophets would experience
God’s wrath—just as the walls of Jerusalem which were being constructed at
that time would be destroyed. Jerusalem would be conquered and captured for
the sins of its inhabitants. The preaching of a false peace had prompted
people to build for a “certain” future; but only the opposite was certain.
The false prophets had deceived the people with false hopes of comfort and
prosperity (v. 10). Their deception placed them not only at odds with God’s
truth, but also with God Himself. Their destruction was certain.
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.
wrath on the
wall and on those who
whitewash; and I will
say to you, 'The
gone and its
|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
occurs 54 times (click
here) in the Scripture with almost one half of the occurrences in
Ezekiel. To "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
"many (referring in context to Jews) will
be purged, purified and refined; but the wicked will act wickedly, and none
of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand."
`The wall is gone and its
plasterers are gone, (Neh4:3;
Isaiah (speaking to
rebellious Judah in the reign of Hezekiah) records that their
iniquity will be to you like a breach about to fall, a bulge in a high wall,
whose collapse comes suddenly in an instant." (Isa 30:13)
13:16 along with the
Jerusalem, and who
peace for her when
|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.
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
are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up
refuse and mud. There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked."