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Old and New Testament
Ezekiel 14:1 Then
came to me and
(Ezek 8:1; 20:1; 2 Ki6:32; Ac4:5,8)(33:31; Is29:13; Lk 10:39; Ac22:3)
is the Hebrew word zaqen (the
9 uses of zaqen in Ezekiel) which means literally "to be old",
and in the present context refers to a leader in the community or one who
makes religious, social, and leadership decisions. For example Moses was
instructed by God to
"gather for Me seventy men from the elders of
Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people
and their officers and
bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with
you." (Nu 11:16)
were to function as leaders under Moses to enable him to
delegate responsibility. In Ezekiel we see that the spiritual
leaders of the Jews in exile seem to respect Ezekiel even though they for
the most part have failed to learn from his repeated warnings. These
counselors were not very wise for Proverbs 1:5 says that
"a wise man will
hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain
The Hebrew word for learning means "a
taking in." A willingness to learn and is a mark of growth and
wisdom. One must be open to God's truth as He teaches us through His Word
and the people around us. Are you listening, testing, and learning? Or are
you like these elders who had ears, yet did not hear? What is God saying to
you through some circumstance, some friend's advice, the Scripture passage
you read this morning, etc?
word of the
came to me,
("the word of the LORD came
to me") occurs 46 times in
As stated so clearly in Amos
"Surely the Lord GOD does
nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets."
set up their
idols in their
hearts and have
block of their
iniquity. Should I be
consulted by them at
Son of man, these men have conceived their devices in their hearts, and have
set before their faces the punishment of their iniquities: shall I indeed
answer them? (Septuagint Greek translation of Hebrew)
Son of man, these men have taken their false gods into their hearts and put
before their faces the sin which is the cause of their fall: am I to give
ear when they come to me for directions?
Son of man, these people are devoted to their idols, and they are
allowing themselves to fall into sin. Should they be allowed to ask me for
"Human being, these men love to worship idols. They put up evil
things that cause people to sin. Should I allow them to ask me for
“Son of dust, these men worship idols in their hearts—should I let them ask
me anything? Tell them, ‘The Lord God says: I, the Lord, will personally
deal with anyone in Israel who worships idols and then comes to ask my help.
Son of man, these men have caused their idols to go up on their heart, and
the stumbling-block of their iniquity they have put over-against their
faces; am I inquired of at all by them?
men" (Ezek 14:4,7;
Je17:1,2,9; Ep5:5), refers to the elders, the leaders
of the exilic community, who knew that Ezekiel was a prophet of God. What
their inquiry was we cannot be certain and it is of little import as God
would not hear it anyway because of their sin of idolatry.
The leaders "have
set up their idols in their hearts"
(Ezek 3:20; 7:19; 44:12; Jer 44:16-18; Zeph 1:3; 1Pe 2:8; Rev 2:14) -- When
we hear the word idol, we often
think of a statue of a person or animal that is the focus of worship, but
remember that an
is ANYTHING that takes the place of God.
between, like worldly pleasure,
Habits of life, though harmless they seem,
Must not my heart
from Him ever sever–
He is my all! There's nothing between. –Tindley
What's the main focus of your life? The answer may surprise you. As Joanie
Yoder writes in Our Daily Bread
I read about a woman
who kept her car in showroom condition. One night her garage caught on fire,
and her neighbors had to restrain her from rushing into the flames to rescue
her car. As it exploded, she realized that she had nearly sacrificed her
life for that car. It had become an idol. An even more subtle form of
idolatry is the reliance on our church activities to maintain a reputation
for being spiritual. Or consider the man who keeps adding "one more gadget"
to an already over-equipped home. If anything other than God becomes our
primary focus in life, it is an idol." (Click following for more from
Our Daily Bread on idolatry
#1 Jesus as an idol,
#2 TV as an Idol,
#3 Golf as an idol)
God had earlier spoken of the
effect Israel's idolatry saying "...how
I have been hurt by their adulterous
which turned away from Me, and by their eyes, which played the harlot after
(Ezek 6:9) emphasizing that "their
continually went after their
(Ezek 20:16). God decreed that "for
go after their
(He would) bring their conduct down on their heads" (Ezek
Yet even in the face of His decree of certain judgment,
God prophesied of a coming day when He would
"sprinkle clean water on
(Israel), and (Israel would) be clean" and He would "cleanse
(her) from all (her) filthiness and from all (her)
idols." adding that He would " give (her) a
and put a new spirit within (her);
heart of stone
from (her) flesh and
give (her) a heart of
Henry Morris comments in the Defender's
Study Bible that
"The elders of Israel in Babylon no longer had actual
images to worship, but kept these "idols in their heart," still thinking
they could somehow get back to Jerusalem, ignoring God's instructions."
Believer's Study Bible adds that
sin of the inquirers who came to Ezekiel was not open idolatry, but the
setting up of "idols in their hearts." They were influenced by pagan
thoughts and practices, and no longer gave primary allegiance to Yahweh."
The elders had "put right
before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity"
(all 14 uses of mikshowl, "stumbling
in the OT: Lv19:14, 1Sa25:31, Ps119:165, Is8:14,57:14, Je6:21,
8 uses in Ezekiel) Although the idolatry in Jerusalem was
blatant and openly displayed
dramatically demonstrated in
Ezekiel 8), the idolatry among the exiles in
Babylon was more subtle because the "altar" was internal rather than external. A
is something that would trip someone up and cause them to fall. Here their
idolatry is like an obstacle or stumbling block which would cause the
people to fall, the fall in this case referring to the defeat and destruction of Jerusalem. In Ezekiel is seen
as the major cause of the "fall" of God's people. In Ezekiel 7:19 their silver and gold were the
"idol" over which Israel had stumbled into sin.
Jesus speaking to the church at
"I have a few things against you, because you have there
some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a
stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things
sacrificed to idols, and to commit acts of immorality." (Rev2:14)
The idea of a stumbling block is that
which produces a snare or trap. The sin of idolatry may "look good" and
therefore deceptively and successfully lure and entrap its victim but the
end result is moral devastation and death, even physical death.
The psalmist gives one of the best "shields"
against stumbling blocks writing
Those who love Thy law have
great peace and nothing cause them to stumble" (Ps119:165)
Internal idolatry is still
idolatry and is still visible to the omniscient eyes of God
for the eyes of the
LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those
whose heart is completely His... (1Chr 16:9)
I be consulted by them at all?"
(2Ki3:13; Ps66:18; 101:3; Pr15:8,29; 21:27; 28:9; Is1:15; 33:15; Jer7:8-11;
11:11; 42:20,21; Zec7:13; Lk 20:8) The implied answer is "no". God asks
a similar question in Jeremiah
Will you steal, murder, and
commit adultery, and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal, and walk
after other gods that you have not known, then come and stand before Me in
this house, which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—that
you may do all these abominations?" (Jer7:9-10)
As the psalmist says
If I regard
wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear." (Ps66:18)
More to the point God says in Ezekiel
"Son of man, speak to the
of Israel, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Do you come to
inquire of Me? As I live,” declares the Lord God, “I will not be
inquired of by you." (Ezek 20:3)
Because of his disobedience
when Saul inquired of the
Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by
prophets." (1Sa 28:6)
for "He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer
is an abomination." (Pr 28:9) "The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the
prayer of the righteous." (Pr15:29)
The Heart Of
When my husband and I
first went out as missionaries, I was concerned about the growth of
materialism in our society. It never even crossed my mind that I myself
could be materialistic. After all, hadn't we gone overseas with almost
nothing? Weren't we having to live in an old, shabbily furnished, rundown
apartment? I thought materialism couldn't touch us.
Nonetheless, feelings of discontent
gradually began to take root in my heart. Before long I was craving nice
things and secretly feeling resentful over not having them. Then one day
God's Spirit opened my eyes with a disturbing insight: Materialism
isn't necessarily having things; it can also be craving
them. There I stood—guilty of materialism! The Lord had exposed my
discontentment for what it really was—an idol in my heart. That day as I
repented of this subtle sin, God recaptured my heart as His rightful
throne. Needless to say, a deep contentment followed, based not on things
but on Him.
In Ezekiel's day,
the Lord exposed the idolatry in the hearts of His people (Ezekiel
14:3-7). And today He longs for us to rid our hearts of
anything that destroys our contentment with Him. —J Yoder
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate'er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from Thy throne
And worship only Thee. —Cowper
An idol is anything that
takes God's rightful place
Making Jesus Into An Idol -Why
would John end his letter by writing, "Little children, keep yourselves
from idols"? (1Jn. 5:21). Certainly his words do not apply to us, do they?
We don't have false gods in our living rooms, do we?
What exactly did John mean by "idols"?
It's unlikely he was talking about the gods of metal and stone so
prevalent in his time. Those kinds of idols were not as great a temptation
to the people he was writing to as they had been to their ancestors.
An idol, however, can be any false idea about God or substitute for Him
that turns us away from knowing His true character. John stated that Jesus
Christ is the true God (v.20). To know Jesus is to know the Father. To be
intimately related to His Son is to be forever related to the eternal God.
It is possible for me to worship an idol I call "Jesus" that leads me away
from Him. Perhaps my Jesus resembles a teddy bear that lulls me to sleep,
or an indulgent father, or a Santa Claus who doesn't take my sin
seriously. Such misconceptions are not the Jesus of the Bible but an idol.
That's the reason John warned us to keep ourselves from idols.
Be careful. Devotion to a false Jesus is idolatry. But knowing Jesus, the
true God, brings us eternal life. — Haddon W. Robinson
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
So often, Lord, in seeking You,
My sin distorts and dims my view;
Help me in prayer to see Your face
And learn Your righteousness and grace.
We are made in God's image--
He is not to be made in ours
A Slow Fourth - When golf professional Paul Azinger learned in 1993
that he had cancer, he said, "I was in shock. I had thought that Dr. Jobe
would tell me they had discovered some form of weird infection in my
shoulder or possibly even a stress fracture. The one word I never expected
to hear him say was cancer."
The good news was that it was curable. Now, after some time away from the
professional golf tour for chemotherapy and radiation treatments, the man
who's called "Zinger" is back, cancer-free.
When people ask Azinger if golf is still important to him, he says, "Yes and
no. Yes, of course golf is important to me. I love the game; it is how I
make a living. But no, golf is no longer at the top of my priority list. In
fact, it runs a slow fourth. My priorities now are God, my family, my
friends, and golf. Golf is no longer my god. Golf is hitting a little white
ball. God is my God, and God is a whole lot bigger than golf."
A serious disease has a way of putting things in perspective. First place
belongs to the Lord; we are to worship nothing in our lives above Him (Dt.
Make God number one in your life, and your dearest pastime on earth will
become only a "slow fourth." — David C. Egner
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Let me hold lightly the things of this
Transient treasures, what are they worth?
Moths can corrupt them, rust can decay;
All their bright beauty fades in a day.
An idol is anything that takes the place of God.
Something Else To Serve - If you were to spend 26 hours a week
staring at the same object, what would you call that? If you were so
mesmerized by what you saw that you couldn't tear yourself away from it,
what would it become to you? If you let it change the way you think and act,
would it be too powerful? If you let this object show and tell you things
that you knew were wrong and that God didn't want you to be involved with,
would it be replacing Him? Wouldn't that be called an idol?
The average American family spends 26 hours a week watching television. It
certainly isn't the only idol we have in our society, but it's one of the
most powerful. Other things that might be displacing our devotion to God are
sports, money, work, hobbies, or even other people. Perhaps music or movies
or the Internet has captured our devotion.
Idols come in various forms, and they can control our lives. When they do,
we need to look again at God's anger with the Israelites to see what He
thinks of idols. They served Baals and Asherahs (Jdg 3:7), and "the anger of
the Lord was hot" against them (Jdg 3:8).
Let's check our devotion. Have we given our allegiance to anything other
than the Almighty God who created us? We should serve nothing but Him. —
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
The gods of this world are empty and
They cannot give peace to our heart;
The living and true One deserves all our love--
From Him may we never depart.
An idol is anything that takes the place of God.
speak to them and
man of the
sets up his
idols in his
block of his
iniquity, and then
comes to the
prophet, I the
LORD will be
give him an
answer in the matter
in view of the
multitude of his
speak to them and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Every man of the
house of Israel who takes his idols [of self-will and unsubmissiveness] into
his heart and puts the stumbling block of his iniquity [idols of silver and
gold] before his face, and yet comes to the prophet [to inquire of him], I
the Lord will answer him, answer him according to the multitude of his
BBE: For this cause say to them, These are the words of the
Lord: Every man of Israel who has taken his false god into his heart, and
put before his face the sin which is the cause of his fall, and comes to the
prophet; I the Lord will give him an answer by myself in agreement with the
number of his false gods;
Brenton: Therefore speak to them, and thou shalt say to them, Thus
saith the Lord; Any man of the house of Israel, who shall conceive his
devices in his heart, and shall set the punishment of his iniquity before
his face, and shall come to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him
according to the things in which his mind is entangled (English of Greek
GNB: “Now speak to them and tell them what I, the Sovereign
Lord, am saying to them: every Israelite who has given his heart to idols
and lets them lead him into sin and who then comes to consult a prophet,
will get an answer from me—the answer that his many idols deserve!
ICB: So speak to them. Tell them, 'This is what the Lord God says:
Any person in Israel might want to worship idols. He might even put up evil
things that cause people to sin. Then he might come to the prophet. When he
does, I, the Lord, will answer him. I will put him to death because he
NIV: Therefore speak to them and tell them, 'This is what the
Sovereign LORD says: When any Israelite sets up idols in his heart and puts
a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet, I the
LORD will answer him myself in keeping with his great idolatry.
'Therefore, speak with them, and thou hast said unto them: Thus said the
Lord Jehovah: Every one of the house of Israel who causeth his idols to go
up unto his heart, and the stumbling-block of his iniquity setteth
over-against his face, and hath gone in unto the prophet -- I Jehovah have
given an answer to him for this, for the abundance of his idols,
Any man of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, puts
right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity
In Ezekiel 18 God adds
"I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,”
declares the Lord God. “Repent and turn away from all your transgressions,
so that iniquity may not become a
to you." (Ezek18:30)
I the LORD will be brought to give
him an answer in the matter in view of the multitude of his idols"
(Ezek 14:7; 1 Ki21:20-25; 2Ki1:16; Isa3:11; 66:4) These hypocritical elders
came to inquire of the true God even though they had another ”god“ in their
heart. Because of their divided hearts, they would receive no verbal
answer, but would be answered directly by Jehovah Himself in the form of
The Bible Knowledge Commentary adds
God was not obligated to answer them when they refused to acknowledge His
sovereignty. So instead of giving these elders the information they
desired, God instructed Ezekiel to give them the information they
needed—God’s attitude toward their idolatry."
In view of the multitude of his
idols" - "in keeping with his
great idolatry" (NIV), "according to the multitude of his idols" (NKJV). The
Greek Septuagint translates the Hebrew "according to the things in which his
mind is entangled (translating the Greek verb enecho which in the
passive voice means to "let oneself be entangled in", in this case entangled
This reminds one of David's
declaration in Psalm 101 where he says that
I will set no worthless thing before my eyes. I hate the work of those who
fall away; It shall not fasten its grip (Hebrew = stick like glue) on me."
Idols are like the proverbial "tar baby" and you can't "touch" them
without becoming stuck to them, at least to some degree. Do you have any
"tar babies" in your heart?
Lest you think that modern
societies do not worship idols simply because they may not worship carved
images of deities, animals, etc, read the following story from Our Daily
The Wrong God - A missionary
had been witnessing faithfully to a certain man who was an idol
worshiper. One day the man placed a small statue and a silver coin on
the table in front of the missionary. Then he took two slips of paper and
wrote something on each. On the note by the idol he wrote the words
heathen god. On the sheet next to the silver coin he wrote the words
From what that man had observed
in the lives of some people from so-called Christian nations, he had
concluded that money was the main object of their adoration
and the source of their confidence.
Many people today choose to
worship the god of money. They make it the object of their trust,
love, and service. But how foolish! Jesus warned, "How hard it is
for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!" (Mk.
Who or what is the object of your worship? The psalmist advised, "Put
your trust in the Lord" (Ps. 4:5). Moses commanded, "You shall love
the Lord" (Dt. 6:5), and Joshua told his people, "As for me and my
house, we will serve the Lord" (Josh. 24:15).
Be sure that your confidence is not in the wrong god. Place your trust
in Christ. — Richard De Haan
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted
by permission. All rights reserved)
True joy comes from loving Jesus
Not from things that we amass;
He alone brings joy and gladness,
Peace and love that really last. --Pasch
Never let gold become your god!
hold of the
hearts of the
estranged from Me
that he should turn aside the house of Israel, according to their
hearts that are estranged from Me in their thoughts.
(English of Greek Septuagint)
When they hear my message, maybe they will see that they need to turn back
to Me and stop worshiping those idols.
I will do this to recapture the hearts of the nation of Israel. They
have deserted me because of their disgusting idols.'
Then I will win back my people Israel. They have left me because of
all their idols.'
NAB Thus would I
bring back to their
senses the house of Israel, who have become estranged from Me through all
in order to capture the hearts of the house of Israel, who are estranged
from Me on account of all their idols.'
I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all
deserted Me for their idols.'
that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are
all estranged from Me by their idols."'
Thus I will hold the House of Israel to account for their
thoughts, because they have all been estranged from Me through their
in order to catch the house of Israel by their heart, in that they have
become estranged from off Me by their idols--all of them.
order to lay hold of the hearts"
The Hebrew verb "lay hold of"
means basically to seize or take hold of, sometimes preparatory to further
action. Vine and the TWOT say that in this context, the laying hold of the
hearts of the house of Israel is for the purpose of terrorizing them. That
is certainly possible (especially in the context of the call in verse 6 to
"repent") but there is another explanation discussed below.
would call Israel to account for their idolatry, for He cannot tolerate a
divided heart. But He would do so with the purpose of laying
hold of (capture,
recapture, bring back to their senses, turn aside) their
alienated, adulterous hearts (Ezek 14:9,10; Ho10:2; Zech7:11-14; 2Th 2:9,
The idea therefore may
be that by bringing them into judgment, some of those in the house of Israel
might come to their senses (see NAB translation above) and be
convinced by their own smitten consciences when they see the death and
destruction their idolatry has reaped. There is a similar idea in 2 Timothy
where God's bondservant speak (although here is called to speak gently) to
who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to
the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape
from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."
Israel is "estranged
(the basic meaning is to turn aside but in some other
contexts this Hebrew verb zur is translated "commit
adultery"!) (Dt 32:15,16; Is 1:4-note;
Jer 2:5,11,12, 13,31,32; Zech11:8; Ro1:28,30; Gal6:7; Eph4:18; Col1:21) Idolatry estranges and
alienates men from the living God. Israel was called to be the "wife" (cf
Isa 54:5, Jer 2:2, 31:32) of God and so has committed "spiritual
adultery" by seeking other so-called gods.
To be estranged implies the
development of enmity, indifference or hostility with consequent separation
or divorcement between the parties in which there had formerly been love,
affection, or friendliness.
To be alienated is similar and means to
be made unfriendly, hostile, or indifferent where attachment formerly
existed. The Greek translation (Septuagint) uses an interesting Greek word
to translate the last portion of this verse, describing Israel as
"estranged from Me in their thoughts" instead of "through
all their idols". Idolatry is not a passive process but does influence
our thinking for as a man thinks in his heart (where he has set up his
idols) so he is. (cf Pr 23:7)
Earlier Ezekiel had recorded God's
reaction to Israel's sin writing that those Jews
who escape will
remember Me among the nations to which they will be carried captive, how I
have been hurt by their adulterous hearts which turned away from
(same Hebrew word zur translated estranged)
Me, and by their eyes, which played the harlot after their idols; and they
will loathe themselves in their own sight for the evils which they have
committed, for all their abominations (see discussion of genuine
repentance under next verse)." (Ezek 6:9)
Paul speaks to the root cause of this
estrangement and alienation in Romans writing that
even though they knew
God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in
their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be
wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God
for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed
animals and crawling creatures" (Ro 1:21, 22, 23-note)
Paul adds that
the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does
not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so. (Ro
The writer of Hebrews exhorts all of
Take care, brethren, lest there should be
in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the
living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still
called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of
sin." (Heb 3:12-note,
The Deceitfulness of Sin)
say to the
away from your
Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God, "Be
converted (all three verbs are aorist imperative = do this now! return
to the point where you once were, turn around, change direction) and turn
(away) from your evil practices (your habitual way of living), and
from all your sins (literally asebeia = ungodliness, impiety, lack of
reverence for God), and turn your faces back again.
(English of Greek Septuagint).
Therefore say unto the house of Israel: Thus said the Lord Jehovah: Turn ye
back (Heb = shub), yea, turn ye back (Heb = shub) from your idols, and from
all your abominations turn back (Heb = shub) your faces,
|In view of
the gravity of the consequences of continued estrangement, God gives three
staccato like commands (all imperative mood) in this verse (all the same
Hebrew verb shub).
and turn away from your idols"
(Ezek 18:30; 1Sa7:3; 1Ki8:47-49; Neh1:8,9; Is55:6,7; Jer8:5,6; Jer31:18-20;
50:4,5; La3:39-41; Ho14:1-3,8; Jon3:7-9; Mt3:8-10; Ac3:19; 17:30; 26:20;
Ja4:8-10) The elders came to consult God
but God refused to be consulted by them on their terms, instead telling them
what they desperately needed to hear, not necessarily what
they wanted to hear. God often has to make us miserable
through conviction in order to make us joyful through confession.
has well said "Repentance is the hurt that leads to
In Romans Paul addressing the Jews
(and "religious" people in general) in chapter 2 asks
do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and
forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to
This is a mystery of grace to me - God
calls them to repent and yet it is God Who grants repentance.
Perhaps, as you are reading about
Israel's duplicity and secret sin of idolatry, you are convicted and realize
that the Holy Spirit is speaking to some idol in your heart, one that you
have held fast to for months or even years. If so the pattern of "repent and
return" is your way back to God. In Acts Peter is speaking to the
unbelieving Jews and calls them to
Repent therefore and
return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing
may come from the presence of the Lord and that He may send Jesus, the
Messiah appointed for you." (Acts 3:19, 20).
Perhaps you too need to repent for the first time and
be saved. Or perhaps you are a believer and you have slowly drifted away
from the fervency of your first love for Jesus. Click "The
Way Back Home" for an excellent small booklet from Radio
Bible Class that addresses this issue in more detail.
Repentance is to leave
That I had loved before,
And show that I am grieved by it
By doing it no more. –Anon.
Shub indicates a distinct reversal or change of direction, as
when "the water receded ("repented" or reversed
its direction) steadily from the
earth" after the worldwide flood. (Ge 8:3). The repentant person is to have a change of mind about
their former sinful ways, to reject past conduct and turn in obedience to
the Lord. In other words, genuine repentance is manifest not
with just words but with actions.
As Paul wrote
the sorrow (because
of the sin) that is according to the will of God produces a repentance
without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world
(remorse because of the consequences) produces death." (2Cor7:10)
When we feel sorry for doing wrong or for getting caught, it is nothing more
than a "spiritual cosmetic'. But true repentance occurs deep
in our hearts and results in a visible difference in our actions.
Repentance means hating sin enough to turn from it. The
change of mind that is the heart of repentance should become a
pattern of thinking--a lifestyle. Genuine repentance has at least four
comprehension of wrong done, cleansing sought with earnest
grief (a "soft face and soft heart"), desire for the presence of God,
and changed action." (Ryken, L, et al, Dictionary of biblical imagery:
Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.)
too soon to repent
One day it will be too late.
In Hosea we read the call to
O Israel, to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your
iniquity. Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to Him, "Take away
all iniquity, and receive us graciously, that we may present the fruit of
our lips." (Ho14:1-2)
I have no pleasure in the
death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord GOD. "Therefore,
and live." (Ezek18:32)
In Solomon's prayer at the dedication
of the Temple he prayed for Israel asking that
When they sin against
Thee (for there is no man who does not sin) and Thou art angry with them and
dost deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to the
land of the enemy, far off or near (which is where Ezekiel and the
elders were) if they take thought in the land where they have been taken
captive (God's reply to the elders was to "lay hold of their hearts"
that they might come to their senses) and
and make supplication to Thee in the land of those who have taken them
captive, saying, 'We have sinned and have committed iniquity, we have acted
wickedly', if they return
to Thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their
enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to Thee toward their land
which Thou hast given to their fathers, the city which Thou hast chosen
(Jerusalem), and the house which I have built for Thy name (God's
Temple) then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Thy
dwelling place, and maintain their cause, and forgive Thy people who have
sinned against Thee and all their transgressions which they have
transgressed against Thee, and make them objects of compassion before those
who have taken them captive, that they may have compassion on them"
away from your idols (Ezek
8:16; 16:63; 36:31,32; 2 Chr29:6; Is2:20; 30:22; Jer13:27; Zeph3:11; Ro6:21) True repentance turns from the
wrong and returns to the right.
The gods of
this world are empty and vain,
They cannot give peace to our heart;
The living and true One deserves all our love--
From Him may we never depart. --DJD
anyone of the
Israel or of the
sets up his
idols in his
block of his
iniquity, and then
comes to the
inquire of Me for
himself, I the
LORD will be
answer him in My own
Brenton: For any man of the house of
Israel or of the strangers (proselytos - our English
"proselyte" = a religious technical term for one who has come over into
Judaism from another religion, becoming a full Jew by being circumcised and
by accepting the obligation of observing Jewish laws ) that sojourn (proselyteuo
= present tense = continually live among) in Israel, who shall separate
(apallotrioo [from apó = marker of dissociation implying
rupture of former association & emphasizing the idea of separation +
allotrióo = alienate] alienate, estrange, be entirely separated from and
implying loss of affection or interest and even hostility) himself from me
and conceive his imaginations (enthumema -thought, piece of
reasoning, argument, invention, imagination) in his heart, and set before
his face the punishment of his iniquity, and come to the prophet to enquire
of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him, according to the things
wherein he is entangled. (enecho - present tense = continually being
entangled by or under the control of) (English of Greek Septuagint).
For any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn in
Israel, who separates himself from me, taking his idols into his heart and
putting the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes
to a prophet to consult me through him, I the LORD will answer him myself.
Suppose an Israelite or a foreigner who lives in Israel deserts me by
devoting himself to idols and by allowing himself to fall into sin. If he
goes to a prophet to ask for my help, I, the LORD, will give him an answer.
'When any Israelite or any alien living in Israel separates himself from me
and sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his
face and then goes to a prophet to inquire of me, I the LORD will answer him
for if any member of the House of Israel -- or any foreigner living in
Israel -- deserts me to enshrine his foul idols in his heart and places the
cause of his sinning right before his eyes and then approaches a prophet to
consult me through him, he will get his answer from me, Yahweh.
(aliens, strangers, foreigners, sojourners) (Ex12:48; 20:10; Lv16:29; 20:2;
24:22; Nu15:15,29) is the Hebrew word (ger) referring to someone who
did not enjoy all rights (e.g., they enjoyed civil rights but not property
rights) usually possessed by residents. These strangers (in the present
context referring to Gentiles) who were residing with the Jewish exiles were
specifically included in God's warning against idolatry. This is not
surprising for God had instructed Moses that
if a stranger
sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the LORD, let all his
males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he
shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of
(Ho4:14; 9:10; Jude19) is the Hebrew verb nazar
which means to separate oneself, consecrate oneself, or act in a manner
which shows devotion, loyalty, and respect toward an object, entity, or
event. In this case the description is one who turns away from God and
devotes himself or herself to idols. This is the same verb found in the
Nazarite vow where the one who separates himself was to
wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar, whether made from wine or
strong drink, neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh or dried
grapes." (Nu 6:3)
How tragic that those who should have "separated"
themselves from the profane and unto God, chose to pursue a path in direct
opposition to God. For example in Hosea God says
I found Israel like grapes in the
wilderness. I saw your forefathers as the earliest fruit on the fig tree in
its first season. But they came to Baal-peor and
devoted (nazar - separated)
themselves to shame, and they became as detestable as that which they loved."
God had made it quite clear what
Israel was to separate themselves from the profane.
In Leviticus we read
not render yourselves detestable through any of the swarming things that
swarm; and you shall not make yourselves unclean with them so that you
become unclean. For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore,
and be holy; for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with
any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth. For I am the LORD, who
brought you up from the land of Egypt, to be your God; thus you shall be
holy for I am holy.'" (Click
for booklet "Why Would Anyone Want to be Holy?)
Isaiah writing to Israel declares that
your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear."
God did not initiate the separation from Israel...they sin which resulted in
separation from Him. If you feel "separated" from God, James gives the
"antidote" writing that God "gives a greater grace"
which calls for one to
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your
hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable
and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy
to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt
you." (Jas 4:7-10)
Lest we as New Testament saints be to
critical of the Jews, we need to remember that
these things happened as
examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.
And do not be idolaters as some of them were...these things (death)
happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction,
upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he
stands take heed lest he fall." (1Cor 10:6, 7, 11,12)
purity give me, more strength to o'ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains, more longings for home,
More fit for the kingdom, more used would I be,
More blessed and holy, more, Savior, like Thee. --Bliss
time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord
Abide in Him always and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God's children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek. —Longstaff
to the prophet to inquire of Me"
(Ezek 33:30-32; 2Ki8:8-15; Is8:1,2; Jer21:1,2; 37:1-3,9,10,17; Je38:14-23)
the LORD will be brought to answer him in My own person"
If an Israelite or an alien was duplicitous and presumed on God while
harboring idolatry, God would answer them in Person (in judgment). This truth is identical to God's
warning in Ezek14:4, repeated here to
emphasize the gravity of their sin. They would receive no verbal answer, but an answer directly from the
Lord in the form of judgment.
face against that
make him a
sign and a
proverb, and I will
people. So you will
know that I am the
I will reject him, and I will make an example of him. I will exclude him
from my people. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
I shall set my face against that person; I shall make him an example and a
byword; I shall rid my people of him, and you will know that I am Yahweh.
I will turn upon him and make a terrible example of him, destroying him; and
you shall know I am the Lord.
him a sign and a proverb"
is a non-verbal symbol which conveys a specific message or meaning. In this
case the effect of God setting His face against these evil men would result
in a significant event (severing these men from Israel) that betokens God
presence and His intention.
is a pithy maxim or a saying which communicates wisdom usually in a terse,
vivid and easy to remember manner.
Unger adds that
In the early stages
of social intellectual growth, when men begin to observe and generalize on
the facts of human life, they clothe the results of observation in the form
of short and pithy sentences. Every race not in savage condition has
proverbs of this kind. The Hebrew word rendered “proverb” has a
special significance. The proverb of the Israelites and other people
of the East was primarily and essentially a “similitude.” It was thus a
condensed parable or fable, capable at any time of being expanded, sometimes
presented with the lesson clearly taught, sometimes involved in greater or
less obscurity, that its very difficulty might stimulate the desire to know
and so impress the lesson more deeply on the mind." (Unger's Bible
dictionary. Moody Press)
So in this
the children of Israel would come to know God as "the LORD".
Some might come to their senses and come to know Him as their Righteous
Redeemer, whereas others would come to know Him as their Righteous
Judge. Either way they would know Him in truth.
word, it is I, the
LORD, who have
prophet, and I will
stretch out My
against him and
destroy him from
If a prophet is deceived into giving a false answer, it is because I, the
Lord, have deceived him. I will remove him from the people of Israel.
ICB: But the prophet may
be tricked into giving a prophecy. Then it is because I, the Lord, have
tricked that prophet to speak. Then I will use my power against him. I will
destroy him from among my people Israel.
And if the prophet is enticed to utter a prophecy, I the LORD have enticed
that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and destroy him
from among my people Israel.
And if a prophet is deceived and gives a message anyway, it is because I,
the LORD, have deceived that prophet. I will stand against such prophets and
cut them off from the community of Israel.
is I the LORD Who have prevailed upon that prophet"
(pathah) means to be open, spacious or wide and is figuratively used
to describe one who is open to enticement, not having developed
discriminating judgment as to what is right or wrong. This word describes
one who is easily deceived and is so translated by several of the other
versions. God uses this word to warn Israel to
Beware, lest your
hearts be deceived
and you turn away and serve other gods and worship them."
The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
has this explanatory note
That is, I have suffered him to be deceived; I
have given him up to "strong delusions to believe a lie," as a just judgment
upon him for going after idols, and setting up false pretensions to
inspiration. God, according to the genius of the Hebrew language, is often
said to do a thing, which He only suffers, or permits.
God deceives (entices, persuades) the false
prophet only in a qualified sense. The Contemporary English Version is in my
opinion too "strong" ("If a prophet gives a false message, I am the
one who caused that prophet to lie. But I will still reject him and cut him
off from my people.") and if that is the only verse some "seeker"
were to read about
God, they might walk away with a very distorted, inaccurate picture of God's
glorious merciful and just
The point of this section of Ezekiel is that when one willfully rejects
God's Word, He places a "cloud" of darkness over them or He permits
their spiritual blindness to persist, the effect being to hide the truth
with the result that the person is deceived by his own
obstinate self-will. Jeremiah reminds us that the human
"heart is more deceitful than
all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jer17:9)
The Word already given (regarding God's prohibition against idolatry) must be obeyed before further
light is sought or else it would be a mockery.
The pattern of divine discipline and
recompense is seen again in Ezekiel where God gives over Israel to the evil
statutes that they insisted on listening to, all the while spurning His
perfect Word (see Ezek 20:24, 25, 26). When people refuse the truth, He lets
them seek after their own inclinations even giving them over to falsehood
(Ezek 20:39). This is the God's righteous wrath of abandonment (giving over)
as so powerfully described by Paul in (Ro 1:18–32) where on three occasions
(Ro 1:24, 26, 28) God gives rebellious men and
women over to the power of sin because they chose not to "honor Him as
God, or give thanks" (Ro1:21)
even though in the
"creation...His invisible attributes, His eternal
power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood
through what has been made (the creation)" Paul concluding that such
thankless rebels "are without excuse." (Ro 1:20)
This specific instance in Ezekiel is one
of many examples of God in His sovereignty sometimes allowing evil to occur for His
own purposes (see this principle in Job's life in Job1:6-12; 2:5-6)
One of the best Scriptural illustrations
of God giving people what they want is found in 1 Kings 22 where the evil King Ahab seeks
the advice of false prophets and then hears and rejects the message of God's
true prophet and ends up paying for his choice with his life. In this
incredible chapter God allows us a "behind the scenes" look at His
sovereign control over even lying spirits (demons or fallen angels) who are
sent out from His presence to put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of the
false prophets who deceived Ahab. (read especially 1Ki 22:19, 20, 21, 22, 23)
In another Old Testament example, King
Saul choose to rebel against God's clear command in
1 Samuel 15 with the result that God tore "the kingdom of
Israel" from him (1Sa15:28, 29).
In this context, in the next chapter
we read that
the Spirit of
the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD
terrorized him." (1Sa16:14)
God is not the Author of evil but He is Sovereign over all. In this case God
allowed His Spirit to depart and sent an evil spirit because of Saul had
first chosen to depart from Him.
John MacArthur adds that
"God, in His sovereignty, allowed an
evil spirit to torment Saul (cf. Jdg 9:23; 1Ki22:19, 20, 21, 22, 23; Job
1:6, 7, 8l, 9, 10, 11, 12) for His purpose of establishing the throne of
David. This spirit, a messenger from Satan, is to be distinguished from a
troubled emotional state brought on by indwelling sin, or the harmful
consequences of the sinful acts of others (e.g., spirit of jealousy, Nu
5:14). This demon spirit attacked Saul from without, for there is no
evidence that the demon indwelt Saul." (The MacArthur Study
Bible. Word Publishing)
In yet another Old Testament example,
almost immediately after being set free from Egyptian bondage, the children
made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were
rejoicing in the works of their hands. But God turned away and
delivered them up (the Greek verb means to hand over one into
another's power for them to use) to serve the host of heaven; as it is
written in the book of the prophets, 'IT WAS NOT TO ME THAT YOU OFFERED
VICTIMS AND SACRIFICES FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, WAS IT, O HOUSE OF
ISRAEL?" (Acts 7:41, 42)
When they abandoned Him, God justifiably delivered His chosen people over to
the power of sin, which in the context included idolatrous worship of the
sun, moon, and stars ("hosts of heaven"), a problem in Israel which
began in the wilderness and persisted through the Babylonian captivity as
demonstrated clearly in Ezekiel! The tragic fruit of an evil root which
planted hundreds of years earlier should be a strong warning to all of us --
one cannot trifle with sin without consequences and an even more frightening
thought is that one cannot know when God might finally fully give the sinner
over to the power of the sin.
As John says
command to do this effectively because idols always have the potential to
seduce and entrap us in this life)
yourselves from idols." (1John 5:21)
In his second letter to the Thessalonians
Paul taught this same principle of divine recompense writing
that lawless one (the
"Anti-Christ") will be revealed (shown for who he really is - the
satanic empowered world ruler who calls himself "god") whom the Lord will
slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of
His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of
Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the
deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not
receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason
(for what "reason"?) God will send upon them a deluding influence
so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be
judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness."
Many believers find this passage in
second Thessalonians very frightening because they assume that after the
rapture, a 7 year period (often referred to as "the tribulation")
ensues in which their loved ones who have heard the gospel but not yet
accepted it now have absolutely no chance of salvation because of the
delusion sent by God. How should one interpret this difficult passage?
The key word in my opinion in this passage is the time phrase "then"
When does this "then"
occur? Although many excellent evangelical commentators feel that this
phrase refers to the beginning of a 7 year period, I think the
Scriptures support a different view, and it is a view held by well known
evangelical teachers such as Dr John MacArthur and Kay Arthur (see her
especially those in Revelation Part 4, for a more detailed exposition and
explanation of the timing of the end time events. See also Dr Tony Garland's
excellent verse by verse exposition of the
Revelation) In my opinion, the "then"
is better interpreted as a reference to the midpoint of this 7 year
period at which time the man of sin, the Anti-Christ,
takes his seat
in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God" (2Th2:4)
Jesus emphasized the importance of
recognizing this event declaring that
you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION (referring to the
Anti-Christ) which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet (see Daniel 9:27), standing in the holy place( let the reader
understand)...flee to the mountains...for then there will be a
Great Tribulation (see study), (the last 3.5 years = "time
of Jacob's distress" Jer 30:7 = "a time of distress
such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time" when "many
will be purged, purified and refined" Da 12:1,10), such as has not
occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall." (Mt
To be sure, the Anti-Christ will be alive
and will be known during the first 3.5 years of the 7 year period, for
Daniel writes that
he will make a
firm covenant with the many (the Jews) for one week" (in context
equating with a 7 year period) (Da9:27-note)
Daniel's Seventieth Week - CHART)
But during that time he is not fully revealed in regard to depth of his
lawless character, and that will not occur until the midpoint of the 7
year period. Daniel records that
"in the middle of the week (in the middle of the 7 year period) he (referring to the
Anti-Christ) will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the
wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete
destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes
At this crucial midpoint in the 7 year period the anti-christ unveils
his true character and his evil agenda which includes the declaration that
all who desire to buy or sell goods must receive his mark. on their
right hand or their forehead and "his number is six hundred and
(Rev 13:16, 17, 18-note).
God in His grace gives one last call to unbelieving
mankind, John recording that
"I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven,
having an eternal gospel
to preach to those who live on the
earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with
a loud voice, "Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His
judgment has come; and worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea
and springs of waters." (Rev14:6-note).
It is at this crucial midpoint in the 7 year period that I
believe the fearful passage in 2Thessalonians 2:3, 4 begins to takes effect. The
choice is made inescapably clear - either choose the
Christ and eternal salvation or choose
the Anti-Christ and eternal death. Those who reject God's gracious offer of
the free gift of eternal life, will instead receive from God a "deluding
influence so that they might believe what is false", specifically so
that they will be willing to take the mark of the beast (666)
and be doomed forever. In summary, God is not unfair, for He gives all
mankind three and one-half years to witness and experience a series of
tumultuous earth shaking events which will culminate with the opportunity of
a clear choice of Christ or the anti-christ. For these reasons, I do not
think that the deluding influence is given during the first 3.5 years. We
must nevertheless continually be "watchmen on the wall", and as ambassadors
of Christ, living out and speaking forth the clarion call to "believe in
Christ and you will be saved" for today is the day of salvation.
bear the punishment
iniquity; as the
iniquity of the
inquirer is, so the
iniquity of the
prophet will be,
The prophet will be as guilty as the one who asks him for help. They both
will be responsible for their guilt.
False prophets and hypocrites--evil people who claim to want my advice--will
all be punished for their sins.
will bear the punishment of their iniquity
Both prophet and people will reap what they sow - divine recompense. Both
had rejected the truth about God and exchanged His truth for the lie of idolatry
Therefore God gave them over to the (power of) the lie,
allowing them to be deceived. God is saying is that both are fully culpable
for their bad choices and will suffer the consequences thereof. God is not being
unfair. They are guilty of rejecting God.
order that the
stray from Me and
they will be My
people, and I shall
GWT: Then the people of Israel
will no longer wander away from me. They will no longer dishonor me with all
their sins. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God, declares
the Almighty LORD.
ICB: Then the nation of
Israel will not leave me anymore. And they will not make themselves unclean
anymore with all their sins. Then they will be my people. And I will be
their God, says the Lord God.
Then the people of Israel will no longer stray from me, nor will they defile
themselves anymore with all their sins. They will be my people, and I will
be their God, declares the Sovereign LORD.
In this way, the people of Israel will learn not to stray from me, polluting
themselves with sin. They will be my people, and I will be their God, says
the Sovereign LORD.
|"In order that"
expresses purpose and four purposes are listed in quick order: (1) the Jews
will no longer wander away from God, (2) they will no longer make themselves
unclean with their sins, (3) they will be God's people and (4) He will be
their God. Although these promises are partially fulfilled in this present
age for any Jew who enters into the
New Covenant (see
below), the complete fulfillment of these promises awaits the future
establishment of the millennial kingdom of the Messiah.
Ezekiel alluded earlier to the New
chapter 11 in which God declared that He would one day give Israel
heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take
the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that
they may walk in My statutes (compare "no longer stray from Me") and keep My ordinances and do them (compare "no longer defile
themselves with all their transgressions"). Then
they will be My people
(identical to present
verse), and I shall be their
God (identical to the present verse)"
(Ezek 11:20, 21)
The first promise that God would "be
their God" was given to
"father" Abraham in Genesis as a repetition of God's covenant promise
"I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of
your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and
I will be their God."
In Leviticus God once again reaffirms
His promise declaring
I will remember for them the
ancestors (in the context referring to the Abrahamic covenant), whom
I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that
I might be their God.
I am the LORD.'" (Lev26:45)
In Jeremiah God declares
give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and
they will be My people,
and I will be their God,
for they will return to Me with their whole heart."
This promise is fulfilled in any physical Jew who by faith
is spiritually circumcised and enters into the
, but will be most completely
fulfilled in the Millennium.
In Jeremiah 31 Jehovah declares
days are coming...when I will make a
Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them
by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they
broke, although I was a husband to them, but this is the
which I will make with the house
of Israel after those days...I will put My law within them, and on their
heart I will write it; and
I will be their God, and
they shall be My people."
(Jer31:31-33 quoted in Hebrews 8:10)
internal condition which results in righteous actions and a
New relationship with God. These promises would be true in the life of
any Jew who accepted the New Covenant in the blood of the Messiah, but would
come to most complete fruition in the millennial reign of Christ.
In Jeremiah 32 God says
will gather them out of all the lands to which I have driven them in My
anger, in My wrath, and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to
this place and make them dwell in safety. And
they shall be My people,
and I will be their God;
and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always,
for their own good, and for the good of their children after them. And I
will make an everlasting
with them that I will not turn
away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their
hearts so that they will not turn away from Me."
In Ezekiel 34:23-24 God speaking of
the millennial reign of Messiah says
then I will set over (Israel)
one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them
himself and be their shepherd. "And
I, the LORD, will be their God,
and My servant David will be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken."
In Ezekiel 36 God amplifies on the
promises in chapters 11 and 14, declaring
I will take you from the
nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land.
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will
cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover,
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; (New
Covenant ) and I
will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of
flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in
My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. And you will
live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so
you will be My people,
and I will be your God.
Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness...On the day that
I cleanse you from all your iniquities...then they will know that I
am the LORD." (Ezek 36:24-38)
Again in Ezekiel 37 God declares that
they will no longer defile themselves with their idols or with
their detestable things or with any of their transgressions; but I will
deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned,
and will cleanse them. And
they will be My people,
and I will be their God....My
dwelling place also will be with them and
I will be their God and
they will be My people."
(Ezek 37:23, 27)
In Zechariah the LORD of hosts says
I am going to save My people from the land of the east and from the land of
the west and I will bring them back, and they will live in the midst of
Jerusalem, and they will be My
I will be their God
in truth and righteousness."
(Zech 8:7, 8)
How does this great promise given to
Israel ("they will be My
people and I shall be their God")
apply to Gentile believers who have entered into the
? Paul utilizes these incredible
promises to exhort the Corinthian saints (and by way of application
all believers) surrounded by gross idolatry and immorality (much like the
conditions in 21st century America), asking rhetorically
has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God;
just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND
I WILL BE THEIR GOD,
AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,"
says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN and I will welcome
you. And I will be a Father to
you shall be sons and daughters to Me,"
Says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved...
from all defilement of flesh and spirit,
Perfecting holiness in the fear of God."