Lesson #2 - Ezekiel 1:1-3
Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. KJV
"Now it came to pass"
Events of the day were progressing normally when God for His reasons intervened in a rather insignificant way. It was not signs in the sky, or was it recognized by the world as needful of front page headlines. It was God coming to one captive Jewish man, and taking him by way of visions into the heavenly realms. Jeremiah was already speaking for God in Jerusalem, and Daniel was doing the same as a captive in Babylon. Now, a third voice joins the sacred ranks of Biblical prophets. Another captive from Nippur a city of the Babylonians.
"in the thirteenth year, in the fourth (month) in the fifth (day) of the month"
It is most probable the 13th year is in reference to the reign of Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar who ruled Babylon, and where Ezekiel was a captive. Nabopolassar is an historically pivotal world leader for it was in his reign that the Assyrian Nation was defeated with the fall of it's capital city Nineveh. It was the Assyrians God used to destroy Northern Israel, and carry off the ten tribes who dwelt there in rebellion to God.
5O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. 6I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
Now Nineveh was destroyed, and a new power was preparing to rule the world.
Nineveh had fallen in 612 under the attack of the Babylonians led by Nabopolassar in alliance with the Medes and the Scythian. Nebuchadnezzar had begun his celebrated career of conquest in Western Asia and defeated Pharaoh-necho of Egypt at Carchemish in 605.
BSac—V112 #445—Jan 55—64
The fall of Assyria which was the most powerful Gentile Nation of that time opened the way for Daniel's prophecy stating that the Head of Gold, Nebuchadnezzar, would become the greatest Gentile power in the world. It also marked the end of the old post flood nations that thrived from the days of Noah to this present age in which Ezekiel lived. It is most probable this day of Ezekiel's visions occurred on a Sabbath day in what is equivalent to our month of June in the year 593 BC.
"and I was among the captives by the river of Chebar"
The captivity of God’s children, the Jews, has great significance in the Bible. They had lost everything. They had been evicted from the promised land. The Temple was beyond their grasp. They worshipped as best they could, but always under the liege of their captors. They had no freedom to obey or to worship God. It was like being dead in that they were absolutely helpless to do anything as captives. It was to such dead men of the captivity that the Jewish Messiah gave hope in the Psalms.
18) Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.
19) Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
20) He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death. KJV
This Messiah who ascended from on high is revealed in the New Testament as none other then the Lord Jesus Christ.
7) But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8) Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. KJV
Ezekiel was in good company as a captive. The best were taken according to God's standards, and the worst were left behind to face the ultimate wrath of the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar.
5) Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.
The prophet Jeremiah remained a light with those left behind in Jerusalem and Judea, while Ezekiel and Daniel who was taken captive earlier under the rule of Jehoachin's father Jehoiakim were with those presently part of the captivity.
Ezekiel finds himself at the River Chebar. He is in a foreign land under the dictates of a foreign people. A most hopeless situation which must have depressed him greatly.
The river Chebar (Ke-bar) or Nehar-Kebar (Ezek 1:1,3; 3:15,23; 10:15,20,22; 43:3). Probably the naru Kabari, "the great river," "the grand canal," an artificial watercourse of the Euphrates. Beginning above Babylon, it flows southeast, passes through Nippur, site of ancient Jewish settlements (and of the wealthy banking house of Murashu and Sons, whose archives (464-405 B.C.) contain many Jewish names), and joins the Euphrates again below Ur. Its modern name is Shatt en Nil, "the river Nile"
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)
"the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God"
Here is a true out of body experience. This was not today’s popular concept of out of body experiences for Ezekiel was taken in spirit to the timeless eternal dwelling place of God. He saw God Almighty not once, but numerous times in his visions of which he is telling us in this his book. Today the Catholics and Charismatics have made a mockery of visions. They would have us believe visions from God are daily occurrences that come to anyone with a mystical bend under the most mundane situations. They trivialize the magnificence and importance of this event as recorded by the prophet Ezekiel.
"The heavens were opened" Out of the ignorance of worldly philosophies which change with every wisp of the wind a sudden opening of truth about life, the universe, and the eternal, unchangable plan of the God creator is opened to all through Ezekiel's vision.
Ezekiel says the heavens were opened unto him. Paul also spoke of the seventh heaven indicating plurality as each ascended into this same timeless heavenly realm though experiencally separated by hundreds of years. We are limited to our imagination as to what this vision entailed to Ezekiel. He traveled into places beyond our comprehension. He saw visions of God. What he saw goes clearly beyond our understanding. It shames all the phony claims that modern imitators make of such visions. Here is what a real prophet of God experiences. Reject those false prophets who daily mesmerize the gullible on TV. Here in Ezekiel we witness the real thing.
To see God in the flesh is to put life in jeopardy. His holiness is all consuming. His glory forces the very stares in heaven to flee.
18No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Ezekiel had to come in visions for a direct encounter would have been his end.
21And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish.
Ezekiel was at the point of being consumed by the same glory of God that
manifested itself at Mount Sinai. How sad that the TV pseudo- Christians are so
filled with their own visions of grandeur that they believe God routinely speaks
to them through supposed words of knowledge. The glory of God is missing,
and I must conclude it is not the God of the Bible with whom they commune.
2In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, KJV
"In the fifth of the month which was the fifth year of the captivity of king Jehoiachin"
God waited 5 years before speaking to the captives through Ezekiel. Time enough to contemplate all the things that went wrong with their religion, their government, and their own personal responsibilities. A day will come when many of today's Christian leaders and lay people will contemplate their involvement with the Charismatic movement, the compromises made with the liberal and conservative arms making up apostate Christianity, and the embrace given to the world to elevate their personal lives and ministries. I dare say the feelings stirred will be similar to those felt by these captives on the banks of the Chebar.
Jehoiachin was the next to the last kings of Israel., and he did not reign long. God deemed him a wicked king! A sad end that started with David (Saul usurped the office in my opinion), and ended here on the shores of the Chebar.
2 Kings 24:8-11
8Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
9And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done.
10At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.
11And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it.
2 Kings 24:15
15And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.
2 Kings 24:17-19
17And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.
18Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
19And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
The leadership doing evil, the people doing evil, all in the name of the God of Israel. It ended with the destruction of Jerusalem, it's Temple, and the humiliation of the conquered Zedekiah.
2 Kings 25:7-10
7And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.
8And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem:
9And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt he with fire.
10And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.
A terrible end to the Jewish monarchy. I see the same end to the Church with the rapture. Evil leadership that allows anything to call itself Christian from foul music to laughing revivals, to phony repentance. They condone it all with hardly a ruffled feather. Today they put themselves in a spiritual mode, turn on the TV cameras, and God supposedly begins to speak to these super Christians who must then tell us what He said be it a supposed word of knowledge or some supposed word of prophecy? What shame will be contemplated when true holiness again revives at the moment of the rapture for those who will rise to meet Christ in the air, and have participated or condoned such phony communications with God.
Out of all this evil the heart of repentance was still active. Both Ezekiel (Ezek 19:5-9) and Jeremiah (Jer 22:20-30) appear sympathetic toward Jehoachin. His grandson Zerubbabel was in the Messianic line (cf. Matt 1:11-12; Ezra 3:8; 1 Chron 3:17-19), and was the chief administrator who built the Second Jewish Temple of Ezra/Nehemiah along with the High Priest Joshua who reestablished proper worship. Both these men were the two olive trees of which Zechariah referred when speaking of the reestablishment of the Second Temple, and then John refers to another two olive trees yet to come who will reestablish the Third Jewish Temple. These are the Two Witnesses of Revelations 11.
3And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.
11Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?
4These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
3The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.
"It came to pass it came, the Word of the LORD to Ezekiel"
Not to the crowd in mass, but to a specific man. A personal one on one encounter with God. It is how the "born again" experience takes place. We may be sitting with the crowd, but God comes to us singly and personally. He touches the heart strings with the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and we can't help but respond to His saving mercy. He exposes our sin in the light of His holiness, and we are undone and broken in an instant. We cast ourselves before Him, and surprisingly find a loving savior. Only He has the power to do the impossible. He has the power to forgive sin. He willingly applies the blood of His sacrifice on our iniquities, and we are forever saved.
Here God comes personally to Ezekiel (God strengthens) as "the Word of the LORD." I once read the testimony of a man who went deeper down in the ocean then any to that day. He walked where no man ever walked before. He spotted a piece of paper stuck on a rock, and curiously tucked it in a pocket of his diving suit. It was a piece of a gospel tract closing with John 3:16. It caused him to search the Bible, the Word of the LORD, and as a result he had a personal "born again" experience with God through Jesus Christ. His testimony was "if God could reach me at the bottom of the ocean, then God could reach anyone anywhere with the gospel of Christ!" Here God reaches a captive during the worst days of Jewish history with a message that is as real today as the day it was given.
1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2The same was in the beginning with God.
3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
"the son of Buzi the Priest"
There is nothing known of Buzi other then he was a Priest. A descendent of Aaron, a family of continual service to the Tabernacle and latter the Temple. Over the years, the priesthood deteriorated. Idols entered the sacred Temple area, and the Priests must take most of the responsibility for this desecration. God became so angry that He allowed the Nation to lose it's prominence. It was now a vassal on the fast track to total destruction. Most commentators feel Ezekiel was most probably 30 years old at this time. It was the age when he would have started his turn of service in the Temple as a Priest. A heritage going back to the days of Aaron has ended because Ezekiel was on the banks of the Chebar not the banks of the Jordan. How much Buzi, and his father, and his father before him were responsible for the present situation can only be speculated. The name Buzi means "my contempt" an unusual name for a father to give his son who has inherited one of the most prestigious jobs in all Israel. I sense some contempt in the choice of names. I sense some dissatisfaction with what the Priesthood had become. I sense the same contempt for the contemporary Christianity of this new millennium. It has become something of which God never intended. The world is as much intertwined in main stream Christianity as was the idol worship in the Temple on Buzi's watch. Oh, that there were more who would voice contempt for what is happening on this watch!
"in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar"
Here is an example of Divine revelation. God reveals Himself on the banks of the River Chebar in the land of the Chaldeans to Ezekiel. It is recorded for all generations from that time forward to read and understand. It is not like the revelations claimed on the 700 Club that fade with each new day of all new claims. When God reveals Himself, it is recorded forever and so recognized and preserved by all following generations of His children. It is not some trivial event. It is momentous!
"and it was upon him there, the hand of the LORD"
When I was ordained, a group of pastors who had examined my doctrine that whole day laid their hands on me, and thus declared I had passed muster. The touch of their hands signified that I was accepted as one of them in heart, and in calling. They sensed after an all day ordination council that God had put such a love for Him in my heart that I would like them make whatever sacrifices might be necessary to serve Him. Here, it is not an ordination council, but the LORD Himself who makes the determination that the heart of Ezekiel is acceptable. The sacrifices required to fulfill this calling will be great, but God sees and approves the heart of Ezekiel.
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Edited by DDSrail - June 28. 2000