I'm a dispensationalist because it is the only way to properly understand God's dealing with mankind over the course of history. I believe Ezekiel reveals another perspective by which to look at the big picture of our omnipotent God. It is the history of the nations. Ezekiel was caught between two eras which he clearly defined. It is easy to look at history from this perspective, and realize that there are 4 eras of nation building then total destruction. This is not a conflict with dispensationalism, but rather another perspective in understanding our omnipotent God
Understand the 4 era's of human history where the nations represent the ultimate end of sinful man's endeavors. These are the areas where Satan can be seen working his best to thwart the plan of God. It is the destruction of the nations that reveals the separation of one era from the next.
The two major sections of Ezekiel are divided by his call to be a watchman. First he is called to the last of era 2. Second he is called to the first of era 3.
This is the key to understanding the big picture in Ezekiel. It is to see the importance of the two commissions of Ezekiel as a watchman in 3:17 and again in 33:7.
17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
The watchman is critical because his two commissions divide Ezekiel into it's two major sections. Ezekiel is a transitionary prophet. One great era of human history ended on his watch, and another began on that same watch. God demonstrated through Ezekiel that these great divisions of human history are always directed by the omnipotent God.
A Simple outline of Ezekiel
Ezekiel 1:1 - 1:28 = A description of the Sheckinah
Ezekiel 2:1 - 3:16 = The prophet's commission.
Ezekiel 3:17 - 33:6 = The end of the post flood great nations.
Ezekiel 33:7 - 48:35 = Two new eras revealed with new great nations on the road to destruction.
2 Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them,
The final part of the first major section chapters 25 - 33 is a declaration to the nations that their destruction is also at hand. Though Israel and Judah failed in faithfulness, the nations failed by their utter rejection of God. Ezekiel starts with Israel's present day pagan neighbors, but he ends with references to the very first nations that appear after the flood. Ezekiel saw one Era ending with the destruction of the nations.
11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon thee.
Nebuchadrezzar was the instrument God used instead of a flood. The nations rejoiced at the destruction of Jerusalem only to find that same destroying instrument now coming at them. God will never be obligated to anyone. He made sure the Babylonians were paid well in secular payment for their secular service.
19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army.
26 That he that escapeth in that day shall come unto thee, to cause thee to hear it with thine ears?
27 In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
A dumb watchman would be of little use to this new era of nation building which contains at the appointed time the First & Second Coming of Christ as highlighted by Daniel's prophecies. Daniel sees 4 nations as the center of this era (the 3rd era). He starts with Nebuchadrezzar the head of gold, and continues through Rome of the iron legs with the toes of today's Western world..
28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;
29 As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.
30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.
31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
32 This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
Rome, the legs of iron and toes of iron mixed with clay, is important because during it's reign the Lord Jesus Christ comes twice. The Second coming is when all the nations are destroyed the third time in Bible history.
34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
It is Jesus Christ who is the stone cut out without hands! It is He that destroys the nations of the 3rd era (in which we live).
Ezekiel speaks of the return of the Jews in this 3rd era. Chapters 33 - 48 incorporate two returns. One in his day, and another leading to the Second Coming of Christ. A 3rd Jewish Temple is revealed as if already finished. The sign of obedience God requires is again manifested.
The 1st era of human history is not mentioned by Ezekiel. It is the pre flood world that ended in the destruction of the nations during the days of Noah. Ezekiel starts with the present 2nd era world in which he lives. Destruction of the post flood nations is the central theme of Ezekiel's first section. A new Babylon very different from the old has risen to greatness under the great king Nebuchadnezzar, and already replaced the old Babylon of the post flood era. Daniel is a prophet to this new era which begins with the "head of gold" which is Nebuchadnezzar. The tower of Babble, the old star worship religion of the Ziggurats, the pagan idiolatry of Abram's time has been replaced with the god-man Nebuchadnezzar. He becomes God's instrument to destroy the last of the post flood nations, and be the first of the new era nations. Ezekiel warned this 2nd era generation of impending doom. Only Israel made the transition intact and successful from this old era into the new much like Noah. Only Israelites can be found today still alive who's origin goes back to the nation building of the post flood era. Only a remnant of Israel repented of their behavior toward God, and reestablished their commitment to keep God's word.
Israel came late on the scene of Nation building in the 2nd era. We can certainly say that not until the time was right did God call Abram out of Ur of the Chaldeans (the old Babylon). In the next era, the Lord Jesus Christ also appears late on the scene, but it was also the appointed time. Our great era of human history is destined to end in the destruction of the nations as did the first and second. A last era will also end with a final destruction of the nations after Christ has reigned for 1000 years.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
The pyramid builders of Egypt (2nd era) were predicted to extinction just as the original Babylonians (2en era) were replaced by Nebuchadnezzar. The Elamites were replaced by the Persians. The Asshurites (old Assyrians) who were the last great power of the post flood 2nd era, and the destroyers of Northern Israel have their end proclaimed by Ezekiel. These Assyrians had the plan of assimilation as the key to destroying all rival nations. Nebuchadnezzar adopted that same plan during his conquests. The people of a nation were removed from their land, and assimilated into other cultures of other people controlled by the conqueror while already assimilated people replaced them in their land. The names of the nations are often carried over from one conquest or era to the next, but much like the Egyptians of today; they are not the original people. Today the Egyptians are not 2nd or 3rd era Egyptian, but Arab. The Arab heritage is not that of the pyramid builders of old just like the Palestinians of today (also Arabs) have no connection to either Phoenicians or Canaanites when it comes to claims of the Eritz (sacred land of Israel).
13 Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered:
14 And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom.
15 It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations.
The old Egypt is no more. Nebuchadnezzar carried them off into captivity 30 years after the fall of Jerusalem. This return of a remnant to their already assimilated nation results in only failure because of their base behavior. A remnant of real Egyptians does cross into the new era, but they don't survive very long. Proof of their demise is that you can't find a real Egyptian today.They have gone extinct. The interesting point of this passage is that the Jews were in the same captivity for 70 years, yet a remnant of Jews did manage to reestablish their nation of old. It was reestablished on the basis of being obedient to God's word. The first act of that obedience was the building of the Second Jewish Temple. The Jews had not changed. Their commitment in the days of David and Solomon were the same as found in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.
The 2nd era Jews began losing their national heritage when the great civil war took place after the days of Solomon. It forever separated Northern Jews from Southern Jews. (Much like today's born again Christians where the North would be represented by the Charismatic's who abandoned sound doctrine, but still proclaim the gospel message ). Elijah's ministry was to the Northerners who were in the process of building a counterfeit Temple in Samaria under Ahab and Jezebel. His message was ignored, and the Northerners were soon conquered and assimilated by the Assyrians. They became just another nation going into extinction through conquest.
The pyramid building Egyptians were given the same opportunity as were the Jews to reestablish themselves. Their failure shows that the greatness of a nation only matters in the eyes of God. Only the Egyptians are mentioned as the sole secular nation to cross into the 3rd era, and their demise was a predicted fact. The rest of the nations of the post flood world went literally to hell! Soon these last Egyptians would join their fellows in their rejection of the God of the Bible.
18 Son of man, wail for the multitude of Egypt, and cast them down, even her, and the daughters of the famous nations, unto the nether parts of the earth, with them that go down into the pit.
19 Whom dost thou pass in beauty? go down, and be thou laid with the uncircumcised.
20 They shall fall in the midst of them that are slain by the sword: she is delivered to the sword: draw her and all her multitudes.
21 The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.
The beauty of Egypt is still evident today. A journey through the Valley of the Kings can leave no other impression. She was great among the nations, but all was for naught. Look at her end. She joins the other famous nations that God had already cast into this terrible place.
22 Asshur is there and all her company: his graves are about him: all of them slain, fallen by the sword:
23 Whose graves are set in the sides of the pit, and her company is round about her grave: all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which caused terror in the land of the living.
24 There is Elam and all her multitude round about her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which are gone down uncircumcised into the nether parts of the earth, which caused their terror in the land of the living; yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit.
25 They have set her a bed in the midst of the slain with all her multitude: her graves are round about him: all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword: though their terror was caused in the land of the living, yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit: he is put in the midst of them that be slain.
26 There is Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude: her graves are round about him: all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword, though they caused their terror in the land of the living.
27 And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.
28 Yea, thou shalt be broken in the midst of the uncircumcised, and shalt lie with them that are slain with the sword.
29 There is Edom, her kings, and all her princes, which with their might are laid by them that were slain by the sword: they shall lie with the uncircumcised, and with them that go down to the pit.
30 There be the princes of the north, all of them, and all the Zidonians, which are gone down with the slain; with their terror they are ashamed of their might; and they lie uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword, and bear their shame with them that go down to the pit.
What is interesting here is that with the sole exception of Edom which I will deal with, the names of the nations are their most ancient. We must go to Genesis 10 to find them. Genesis 10 is the chapter dedicated to the building of the post flood nations. Here in Ezekiel we see their final disposition. What a sad story! What is even sadder is that it repeats itself 4 times. Only where the grace of God operates do men break from these sad cycles.
11 Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,
22 The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.
It is surprising that these conquers of Northern Israel are not mentioned by Daniel when he lists the great nations of the world. Daniel mentions only Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (head of gold), the Medes and Persians (breast and his arms of silver), the Greeks (Alexander the belly and his thighs of brass), and the Romans (legs of iron with toes of iron and clay) of which Western society has its origin and continues to represent. No mention of any nations before Nebuchadnezzar. It is because he is dealing with the 3rd era of nations. The 2nd era of nations ends with the Assyrians who even surpassed the Egyptians in power. Yet, they all by God's decree end up in hell. Their final deposition makes all the greatness they produced throughout human history meaningless.
2 The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.
In Ezekiel's day these were the barbarians of the North. Beastly in their behavior. Men of no honor whatsoever. It seems there are levels in hell because God will not allow them to lie with the more honorable ungodly dead "And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones." Laying the sword under the head represented an honorable secular death. It was not for traitors, or those who left their comrades and fled the battle. There are many unsaved people, and many unsaved soldiers who have led honorable secular lives that are now dead. They did not act like the beasts of the field. Their behavior is apparently taken into consideration by God as to where He places them in hell. These barbarian's end would seem insignificant at this point when compared to the great nations already mentioned. That is until we realize that history repeats itself. Four times the nations must be destroyed. Though Meshech and Tubal are not much at the end of the 2nd era. They are major players (the people who live in their lands) at the end of the 3rd era..
15 And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth,
These were the merchantmen of the 2nd era who made the nations fat with wealth. They also find their final disposition in hell. "and bear their shame with them that go down to the pit." The glory of the nations becomes nothing when God makes his final dispositions. I don't think America will fair any better then the other nations. The only thing of importance that comes out of America is that which is part of the God of the Bible. It is not freedom or democracy that will endure past the condemnation of hell. It is only that which is of God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the only begotten Son the Lord Jesus Christ that will ever have eternal value. We are quickly approaching the judgment of the nations in this 3rd era.
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Only a remnant will be passed over when that Judgment takes place. Christ is the only refuge for that remnant. Do you know Christ? Have you received Him? The time is short!
Edited by DDSrail January 19, 1999
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