6 And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
7 And thou 78salt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.
8 But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.
9 And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;
10 And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
Exposition of verse 6:
6 And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid
of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among
scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though
they be a rebellious house.
"And you son of man" or "And you son of Adam"
Oh insignificant son of man among the billions. Oh precious, dignified son of Adam pinnacle and principal of all the created universe. God calls out of the billions one to hear and proclaim His words. A faithful son who will not compromise the word to fit a generation in rebellion. The dignity created into the first Adam is found in the character of this prophet Ezekiel. The likeness of Adam as a representative of Christ is also found in Ezekiel as a son of Adam. A link of dignity Godward rather then the beastiality of rebellious man is what is needed.
Today, Christianity is in rebellion to God's word as much as Judaism was in Ezekiel's day. False concepts have replaced Biblical separation. Unity is at any cost. Success is measured in compromise for numbers sake. Evangelical Christianity encompasses things that go far beyond the Biblical parameters. A new worldly evangelization now exists which exploits the "born again" salvation message. There is no distinction between who is saved, and who is not in today's Christianity. Doctrine, which has always been the sieve of separation is now degraded as something divisive rather then purifying. The most radical fanatics now control main stream Christianity with their false mystical claims, and anti-doctrine teaching. The DANGER of what the Billy Grahams have done during their watch by compromising with these people is hidden in an almost icon devotion to these whishy-washy leaders of Today's Christianity. All past real revivals were grounded in Biblical doctrine which opposed the falsehood of the Roman Catholic Church, and it's false salvation. Today, we find just the opposite is being promoted. The crusades of today are not the same as revivals of the past! Christian history is being changed! I saw at the Billy Graham Center how they connect the Billy Graham era as just an extension of those Great Awakening revivals of which I speak. The Biblical and doctrinal stand of leaders such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield against the Roman Catholic Church are not present today. (The Roman Catholic Church has not changed; it is still the same deceptive system it was during the Great Awakening) Their Biblical stand would fail in today's Christian environment. Ezekiel must face the same failure to his generation. Judaism had changed. He was going to stand against the tide of his day. It is never easy to be a critic. It is never easy to tell the truth when people do not want to hear it. Nothing less then a son of Adam will accomplish such a charge to faithfulness. The son of man weak in the flesh will just not stand as the son of Adam must.
"do not be afraid of them"
7:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
It is a fearful thing to stand uncompromisingly faithful to God's word alone. How many a pastor has bent under the pressure of fear? Fear he would lose his livelihood. Fear he would lose the parsonage. Fear he would lose his successful standing in the Christian community. Fear to the physical body is not the leading reason why many have become the coward. Success has produced more cowards in the ministry then any other cause, and fear of not being successful has devastated Biblical truth! If Ezekiel is to accomplish God's task, he will have to fight and overcome the fear that makes a man into a coward. God encourages the prophet as He encourages everyone who goes into the ministry. We need not fear! They can do their worst, but God's word will always stand. The greatest of God's children are not afraid to fail. They are not afraid to fail from the world's perspective as long as they do not fail being faithful to the Bible. It matters not what the rebels say about the faithful servant. His heroic stand on the Bible is far more important then any success that ends up in unbiblical results. A Church full of carnal lip service Christians, or just professors of Christ is hardly success in God's eyes. A Church run by emotionally charged women who's sincerity blinds them to Biblical order and submission is not success from a Biblical perspective. Oh the cowards who step aside when the strong willed woman expresses her spirituality in leadership over men. God can't use cowards. The fear is real, but overcoming fear is what God encourages. Ezekiel is going to have to stand in the face of failure. Ezekiel is going to have to stand in the face of rejection. Do not be afraid of them is how God begins to prepare Ezekiel for what is to come. It is the starting point for anyone considering full time, or any-time Christian service.
"and do not be afraid of their words"
Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me. I remember that childhood rhyme, but life has taught me how untrue it is. I've been hurt by words far too often. I've broken a few bones over the years, but the hurt from those whom I thought were faithful have hurt far more. I have been greatly disappointed in almost every ministry by folks who have said it like it is for their own interests. Some did not like black children coming to AWANA. Others, I guess just did not like me. The words hurt! They hurt when folks are in your face bold, or behind your back second or third hand. It takes a lot to overcome the fear of what people sometimes think and say about you and your ministry. Many times people smokescreen their real motives. No one is a bigot, of course, so when it's time to oppose the pastor the problem is not the black children in AWANA, but rather the cheap suits the pastor wears in the pulpit. Whatever will stick is what they throw, and it all hurts. God says do not be afraid of their words! Words hurt; they have effect. They are often believed. They often mold bad attitudes. Yet, we are not to fear. We must leave all in the Lord's hand. The sons of man are frail. Only by putting our faith in His hands can we stand fearlessly as a son of Adam in the face of those to whom we must minister. God well knew what they were going to say about and to Ezekiel. He would have to rise above responding to personal attacks against him. It is hard to be unafraid of words. When fear is mastered, there is no need of self-defense, and the focus can be fully on the words of God. A man of the Bible is birthed. It is a lesson as relevant today as it was for Ezekiel.
"Though briars and thorns are with you"
Though briers and thorns. The two words are sarabim and sallonim.
The former is found only here in the OT, and is probably an Aramaic loan word;
the latter, of unknown etymology, appears also in Ezek 28:24. In Sir 4:2 and in
the Aramaic, the root srb means "to contradict." The LXX and the Syriac render,
"for they will contradict."
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)
"for they will contradict" Ezekiel will speak the truth, but they will spin his words into untruth. It is one of the great difficulties in the ministry. I had a fellow who would record my sermons on Sunday then play them back to me on Monday stopping the recorder to tell me what he untruthfully convinced himself I meant. He was never bashful to tell others about his personal contradictions. I became amazed at some of what I thought were mature Christians who began to echo his distortions. I was crushed by those whom I never expected would be manipulated by such an attack. I have watched Dr. John MacArthur attacked over the issue of the blood of Christ in similar manner. I have watched the Ruckmanite types distort the scholarship of Dean Burgon into a false KJV onlyism theology. I have watched the Covenant Theologians distort the writings of Charles Spurgeon into appearance that he would be in their circles if alive today. Ezekiel was going to face such contradictors, and would have to continue to stand under such distortions of his message.
2 Cor 12:7
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
They will scratch away and tear at his words, yet he must stand without waver. How hard it is to tell the truth then have others distort your message, and make you the blame for their untruthful distortions! How few are the men like Ezekiel today? How few can bear up to the thorns and briars of life.
"and among scorpions you are living"
It is the subtly of the scorpion I think is at point here. They lurk near waiting for a moment of inattention. The price in pain is great, and the reality of their existence is known to all. Fear again is part of living with scorpions. I never had an experience with scorpions, but I did work on a ranch where I and another fellow put up miles of fence in rattlesnake country. We never saw a snake, but the expectation at every step in the sage brush was a fear that needed to be overcome. I also skinned 1000's of mink one winter at a mink farm. The first thing we had to do was grade them. This meant reaching into the cage, grabbing the mink, and taking it to the grader. I almost quit that first day. I had a psychological battle with reaching into those cages. Mink bite, and they bite right through leather gloves. In fact, grip is better accomplished without gloves. Imagine having to reach into a cage and grab a large rat type creature by the back of the neck. It can be done, but it takes a number of bad bites before the technique is mastered. It took me a whole morning, and many "mink out" failures, but I overcame my fear. I have applied that lesson many times in the ministry. Living among scorpions is a reality that every Christian worker must accept before application. That is if you want to be like Ezekiel, and not some milk toast like those who dominate Christianity today!.
"of their words do not be afraid"
Again, their words are acknowledged as a fearful thing to God's faithful servant. Who God is, and what His purposes are had been distorted in Ezekiel's day. There was a need to return to truth. It is the old, old story that would seem like something altogether new! The lie had become contemporary, and those who benefited from the lie would resist. How little has changed. Today, the Charismatic TV types have distorted "born again" Christianity. They have turned being "born again" into a lie. Their leaders like Benny Hinn and the TBN gang are guilty. They influence great multitudes who are scammed into the Charismatic false doctrine under the auspices of being "born again." They are caught up in all the unbiblical false accompaniments that go along with this Charismatic salvation message. The truthfulness of Spirit Baptism, and speaking in tongues is distorted into an unbiblical lie. Christ alone is transformed into Christ plus! Another foundational pillar of the Great Apostate Church of the tribulation is the lie being formulated this very day through the Charismatic movement! I have heard them accuse those who speak out in truth against them as instruments of the devil. I have seen their so called "man of god" condemn any who would question their outlandish claims of what God supposedly said to them in revelatory visions! Oh what visions they would have against Ezekiel were he called to testify today! Their words need not be feared. Their threatening theology of loss of salvation if you leave need not be feared. Christ is sufficient!
"even by their faces do not be frightened"
Again, their faces are a fearful thing to the faithful servant. It is true you can tell a lot about a person by their facial expressions. I'm always amazed when in the pulpit how clearly folks reveal their feelings by their facial expressions. I believe they are for the most part unaware of how revealing they are. I think it has something to do with crowd mentality where they feel like just another face in the crowd. What they don't realize is the pastor is on the other side of the crowd, and sees them individually. I can read the hate and anger easily. It is a fearful thing to continue when chastening is proper. Let me also relate to the faces I see when preaching on the grace and mercy of our God. Especially the older folks when exposing the truths of eternal life and heavenly bliss. Those faces counter all the fear! I'm sure there were some who would lift the heart of Ezekiel, but for the most part it would be the negative faces he would see.
"though a house of rebellion they are"
This is not the rebellious "goyem" (Gentiles) of verse 3, but the rebellious "bet" (house) of Israel.
Here is the truth of Judaism in Ezekiel's day. Here is the truth about what the Temple represented in that day. Here is the truth of what happened to God's children. " A house of rebellion" A lesson to God's children of today. Are we any better then God's children of past generations? Are New Testament Christians any better then Old Testament Jews? Should we take heed to what God did in the past when dealing with a house of rebellion? It seems to me that the book of Ezekiel may be one of the most contemporary of all Old Testament books. Ezekiel was called to speak at the end of an era to a rebellious house. Today we are at the end of an era. For 2000 years the Church struggled to maintain truth. Today that truth is distorted into a lie. The voice of fundamentalism is quenched by desires of success. The fundamental movement is deteriorating. The fundamental message when proclaimed properly is being rejected. It's the old, old story of correct Bible doctrine that is rejected. Mission agency after mission agency are changing priorities away from long held doctrine to success oriented philosophy. Missionaries in the field are working more and more with those who have no doctrine discipline. Numbers overshadow doctrinal truth. It is no wonder God dealt so sternly with David when he counted Israel! A house of rebellion has come back to haunt God's children again! It seems soon to me that God will again deal with this house of rebellion. Soon it will also be removed! Soon it's physical gates will be left fully in the hands of the Apostates for destruction. It will end in the rapture. Victorious in that at the end a few remained faithful whom Satan never prevailed against, but disgraced in the magnitude of what it left behind!
Oh, that the rapture be soon!
Exposition of verse 7
7 And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.
"And you will speak my words to them whether they will hear or whether they will stop"
10 Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD's house, in the ears of all the people.
15 And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears.
16 Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words.
24 Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.
"My Words" is critical in understanding what is happening here. These are the words of God. It is such a shameful thing today to turn on the TV, and watch someone claiming the same thing that is being proclaimed as here in the book of Ezekiel. The impact of the Bible as revelation is completely distorted by today's TV Christian actors. The Charismatic stares are the greatest offenders. They portray God as just casually talking to them like some guy you bump into on the street corner. Other times, they construct a Hollywood spectacular with music and singing, but it is not the same as what is being revealed here in Ezekiel. TV Charismatic's have degraded God and His words to the value of reading yesterday's newspaper. Today's revelation becomes yesterday's news! God's eternal words exposes them, and those like them throughout the ages!
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The words of Ezekiel are forever eternal! They are the words of God! This prophet is a man God knows! He is not working iniquity. He receives the command: "And you will speak my words to them" He was to speak the words of God to this rebellious house.
Rarely, have the rebels taken the words of warning to heart. Ezekiel is told to speak whether they listen, or whether they stop their ears. I doubt the folks at TBN will change, but I do expect some of their sheep to evaluate what is being said here. Willing ignorance has never been an acceptable excuse to God. The house in rebellion to which Ezekiel was sent, or the house in rebellion within Christianity today. These eternal words condemn them all. Evaluate the daily claims being made by today's revelers? Are they really God's eternal words?
"for they are rebellious"
15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvatilon.
16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.
17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.
19 And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.
Who is saved, and who just say they are saved with their lying lips? God knows! It causes much internal strife because the lying lips can't understand God's words. They have no discernment. They come up with all kinds of falsehoods. They are never satisfied unless they can get a following. We must do our best to evaluate because internal falsehood can do more damage then frontal assaults by the emboldened enemy. This kind of internal rebellion is the result of not dealing with falsehood when it first raises it's head. Like leaven, it corrupts the whole lump. The children of God become rebellious. It happened in the past, and it happens today!
God acts when the rebellion gets out of hand. In Ezekiel's day they were taken from their Temple, and they were taken from their land. They were removed! I can't help but think that this could be the same fate for the rebellious Church of today? The lying lips will be left behind (a huge number in my estimation), and those of us who left the rebellion grow to this magnitude will be taken from this world in shame. In one sense there is joy in having been an overcomer, but in another sense there is no joy in having failed. We will know what Noah felt as the crowds probably pounded on the sides of the ark as the waters lifted him up. Not a pleasant thought in my estimation. Every dispensation ended in failure by man to keep the responsibility God had given him. The Church with the special gift of the Holy Spirit had the greatest potential to date .Today the Holy Spirit is being presented as a circus act or some kind of mystical hooey-dooey. It is doubtless man's (God's children / the saints) greatest failure.
I resigned my membership at the independent Church I attended a few years back when the new pastor appeared on the local Charismatic TV show promoting his pet project. I was the bad guy! It hurts to stand against the rebellion that is just not going to be stopped. Ezekiel is about to become the bad guy to the rebellious house of his day. There is no joy in failure when the rebellious do not change, do not consider, but just stop their ears until it is too late.
Exposition of verse 8
8 But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.
"But you son of man hear what I am saying to you"
The first thing - the very first thing is to hear what God says. I well know what it is to be rebellious. I do not hid my carnal background. I know how far a backslider can go. I have risen from the gutter of alcoholism to having been a pastor (my highest achievement) of several fundamental Churches. God lifted me out of the mud (so drunk I couldn't get up) to sobriety. The first thing - the very first thing I did with this newly found clear head was read the Bible! I read it through cover to cover over a three month period. Then I read it again. My mother went to the pastor with fear that I was becoming a fanatic. How joyfully he assured her that this is exactly what should be expected when the rebel opens his ears. I was saved when 7 years old in a Sunday School class, but left all my Christianity behind through young adulthood. When God pulled in the rope, the first thing - the very first thing I had to do was hear what He has said! It is the only cure for rebellion. The rebel has to get it straight. He needs to get on his knees, and plead that God teach him straight for well he knows how easy it is to let the flesh take control. Doctrine becomes extremely important. Every word must be weighed, thoroughly understood, and applied! There is no shortcut. It requires hard, sacrificial work with humility always at the front.
Here another son of Adam is instructed to open his ears. Before you can tell others you must first open your own ears. I tell you true, you ought be straight on doctrine before you decide to be a spiritual advisor to anyone else. Leadership is only for those who have done the hard work. It is only for those who have struggled, and worked their way through every word. It is only for those who have had every fleshly concept challenged and purged often by peers in open debate (Bible School training), but mostly in private contemplation comparing scripture to scripture until the truth is clear. Such a study of the words of a Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, or even the Popes speaking ex-cathedra is a waste of time, but the words of the Bible are worthy of finest examination. They are the words of God! They end the rebellion.
The very last word in this phrase stands out "to you." "But you son of man hear what I am saying to you" A degree from the greatest seminary is meaningless unless the Bible has had a personal effect on the scholar. Harry Ironside who rubbed shoulders with the greatest Bible scholars of his day was asked who in his estimation understood the Bible best? His answer was a man he met who lived alone in a one room cabin. He said he never saw the man open the word without getting on his knees. Scholarship has many faces, and not everyone will have a prestigious degree. The key is the doctrine they take with them throughout life. The personal effect these words have had on the individual who studied is central. The product produced when the ears are open will produce clarity and truth.
"do not be rebellious like that house of rebellion"
1 Peter 3:14-15
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Lockstep is a form of rebellion. I was always in trouble in Bible School (49 demerits my first semester - 50 and you were out!). I challenged everything, and everybody. I felt many of those professors were only interested in making little mocking birds. Little lockstep soldiers who followed their every command. During one of my health incurred sabbaticals in the ministry, I had a pastor whom I challenged ( in private) on several occasions. His wife would always go to her Bible School notes as the final answer to any perplexing problem, and some not so perplexing. When Israel crossed the Jordan River there was only one application that could be made, and that was found in her notes. There could be no sacrifice in the future Temple of Ezekiel because her notes on Hebrews said so! I always read, and searched for Biblical answers when perplexed. To shortcut hard Bible study by going to a single professor or a single school of thought and then stop, is rebellion! I do not like clones. It takes work to reach the standards God expects of the teachers of His word. My library is filled with many of the great Bible teachers of all ages. They freely admit they are fallible (if they are worth reading). To rely on just one source for any single issue is dangerous. It could be their area of fallibility? It is the collective study that is the path to discovering truth (correct doctrine). I rejoice in thinkers who can challenge, yet can humbly submit when the truth is discovered. They are much better then clones. I must admit most of my professors were right (my demerits were deserved). I hope I reflect all the good things they taught me. All the Biblical things. I must say the same of every pastor I ever had who molded me into the missionary and pastor that I was. Fallibility aside, they were all good men of the Bible. Lockstep I never was. I do not recommend it. I do love the men God put in my path, and can only pray you also have similar mentors. Similar men of the Bible to guide you into discovering correct doctrine. You'll be surprised how many others are in agreement with your findings.
Ezekiel was being called to walk on different ground. He would be portrayed as the rebel because he was not in lockstep with them. Ezekiel was not some long haired liberal voice of change. He was the conservative voice calling back to the way it was. The way it was suppose to be. The things of God had become twisted. Judaism had lost its way. They had become rebellious in the eyes of God. The whole house was that way. Every room, every contingency was rebellious. They must have successfully silenced challenge, and all that was left were the clones. All the little clones had become one house of rebellion. They had an outward form of religion, but it was imitation. It is what you see at the Charismatic shows that come to your town, or you see on the TV. It is the form of worship found in the liberal denominations, and Churches of that flavor. It is Evangelicalism denying it's Neo-Evangelical doctrine. It is saturated in the contemporary Christian music of today. It is main stream Christianity. It is imitation. Every room is in rebellion.
There may be some things you need to challenge? Things that are not right. Things that you need to walk away from. Let Ezekiel stir up some boldness in your soul. Step outside that lockstep contingency, and look to the Bible. Say something! Do something! Challenge the pastor! Challenge his wife! Don't be a clone! Then be ready to humbly submit to the truth.. Take your demerits if deserved. Get out if you find yourself in a house of rebellion.
"open your mouth and eat what I am giving to you"
It is not going to be turkey dinner!
Ezekiel has been told the difficulties to expect, now he must be prepared by God to execute the task..
Before becoming God's spokesman there are prerequisites. Every missionary, every pastor, every full time Christian worker ought to be a seminary graduate. I never graduated seminary. I did graduate regular College once, Bible College (twice), and almost got my MA in Biblical languages. But, I didn't. There was a time when the smartest men were not the doctors or CEO's, but the pastors. Credentials were mandatory, and getting into an institution that taught the Bible was difficult. Only the best would even be considered. A degree in Bible was the highest attainment that could be perused. The Bible was recognized as the hardest thing in the world to be mastered. It was that way during the life of Jonathan Edwards. The smallest town or hamlet could expect only the best when seeking a pastor. Most of these smartest of men were not discouraged with low pay and no hope of advancement. They filled those pulpits, and counted it a privilege to teach Bible. Things have sure changed. Today, the guys who did not made it are acceptable as pastors. The reason why is because the guys who should be in seminary are in the secular schools learning how to make money. When a Church does get a qualified pastor, they often treat the garbage man with more respect. The way things were; the way things ought to be is what is now being revealed. Ezekiel was in captivity in a foreign land. There was no seminary, no institution of higher learning for him to attend. God was not going to lower the standard for Ezekiel.. If anything, God was about to raise that standard even higher. Ezekiel was going to be required to be master of every word before he could lead others into truth..
Exposition verse 9
9 And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;
"And I looked and behold a hand was extended to me"
24 O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?
The hand of God! Out of the whirlwind now stilled comes the hand of God. He has come bearing gifts. God loves His children. He would not have them ignorant. The vastness of the universe is nothing compared to the vastness of God. He created the universe with just the sweep of His hand. The Hubble telescope is just beginning to see the magnificence of what God did in that instant. The electron microscope is also just now discovering the magnificent creation ability in God's hand. Six days, and the glory of it all is beyond the ability of man over the generations to conceive. It becomes more intricate and complex with every new discovery. Oh what God will do in eternity future? Man must rely on the computer to seek the secrets of life that God had so long ago designed. We are so puny. We are so far from appreciating this great God. Yet, He would not have us ignorant. His desire is to communicate, and reveal all truth to His children. He is in absolute control of all things. This world was created with thought and plan. What a great book it would be that reveals the purpose and plan of this great God. It certainly would be something to master. It certainly would take the very best man could muster from every generation to take on such a task. Even then, it would be more then the mind of man could handle. Special help would be needed. Spiritual discernment would be necessary.
"and behold, in it was a book of roll"
roll of a book. In Palestine and Babylonia, skins were ordinarily used for scrolls. The Dead Sea Cave Isaiah scroll (I Q Isaa) is of parchment, twenty-four feet long. (Cf. Jer 36; Ps 40:7. See J. P. Hyatt, "The Writing of an Old Testament Book," BA, VI (1943), 41-80).
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)
There are a lot of folks today who will go to death claiming it's a King James Bible God was giving Ezekiel. How sad!
I'm going to reveal to you what this ignorant old man has discovered as he sought answers to what Bible version he should recommend to those who have not mastered the original languages. The issue is really centered in the New Testament. I tell you true, the Byzantine text best represents the New Testament in it's infallible reproduction. The problem is the Byzantine text is theoretical. It does not exist! Well, it does exist, but it exists within some 2000 manuscripts (the handwritten Bibles through the ages that still exist). They should by just overwhelming numbers get the weight of decision making when differences occur in the text. All the manuscripts vary in minuet areas when compared one against another. The variants differ in areas from one manuscript to another. It's the collective study of them ALL including those classified as Byzantine as well as the latest oldest finds that gets to the truth of textual critical correct decision making. Not just any single manuscript or group of manuscripts. The individual manuscripts are all flawed minutely in one place or another. Not one is perfect. They are copies of copies of copies, and small errors have been introduced over the millennia. Their combined study can produce through hard scholarship that perfect underlying text representing what the original authors wrote (error free). There is no easy way! There are no shortcuts! All attempts to reproduce that infallible Byzantine text have failed. The Textus Receptus is just such an attempt. Fallible men have researched fallible manuscripts, and have had to make fallible textual critical decisions with every variance in the texts they worked with. Someone or some conscientious of someone's must make the decision which variant is right, and which variant is wrong. That is the job of textual critical analysis as applied to the Bible. A task to which every Bible teacher is responsible! Each must do his own search of each individual passage he is about to teach considering textual critical decisions by others as well as his own as part of that study! Mastery of the original languages is the greatest aid to seeking truth in this area. The passages where textual critical decisions are critical is really few, but never the less important. The responsibility to make the right decision falls on each individual Bible teacher. The knowledge of where the various experts, and schools of experts come down on such decisions is necessary, and mandatory. The experts are not the final answer! The final answer must be evaluated in the heart of each individual Bible Teacher as he struggles for truth from the great God who wrote these great words of truth, and preserved them in this forum
Now, let this old man tell you what to do. There are two schools of thought today. The non-Byzantine Westcott and Hort school is the strongest in popularity, and every NEW version of the English Bible (and non-English also) is based on the Westcott/Hort theory that a few older manuscripts should dominate all textual critical decisions made on any variant (UBS). They ignore the testimony of the thousands of other manuscripts that should also be considered. It's a shortcut to scholarship plain and simple. It's the easy way out. The other school of thought considers all the manuscripts as a whole in search of that perfect Byzantine text considering the latest finds, but not giving them exclusive power over textual critical decisions when dealing with variants.. It is hard work with no shortcuts. The number of variants increases with the number of manuscripts considered, and the work is harder. This school will always be closer to the truth. Today, the Textus Receptus (TR) and it's King James version of the Bible is closest in representing that elusive Byzantine text. The scholarship must continue! Challenges to the TR must be made! The TR is not perfect. The search for that perfect underlying text representing the original writings must be pursued. The scholarship that went into the TR was excellent (I believe the best to date), but fallible. I recommend the King James Bible as the best representative of the Byzantine text available today, but it is not perfect! God requires you to work! Every word must be studied. It is required of teachers to study each word individually and completely then collectively before teaching others. Considering variants is part of that study, or at least it should be!
The worst shortcut of all is the shortcut into willing ignorance. That is where the King James Only part of the school has gone. They will only consider manuscripts that were available to those of the King James era. They just dictatorially clone their followers to accept the King James Version unchangeable unto death. All scholarship stops. All challenges are met with devil accusations. It is the easy way; just hang up the brain God gave you. It is wrong. They have turned all the scholarship that is found in the TR into a brazen serpent! I tell you true that most of the loudest voices promoting KJV onlyism have no grasp of how to do their own personal textual critical analyses by their own admission. They do have great multitudes of clones who follow their every word! This book God is giving Ezekiel is not the King James Bible.
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
God came to Ezekiel bearing gifts. This gift was the revealed eternal plan and purpose of God. It was conceived before the heavens were made, and now those great truths were being handed to Ezekiel. Everything from beginning to end. Just look at what Ezekiel reveals in the last eight chapters of his writings, a complete Jewish Temple in operation that has not yet been built! This Temple has a throne on which the Lord Jesus Christ will sit for 1000 years. Ezekiel knew it all. It was revealed to Him in this book of roll God was handing him. What a privilege it is to study this book of Ezekiel. To seek the depths of what he wrote.
Exposition of verse 10
10 And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
"And He spread it before me"
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
God spreads it before you and I also. The Bible is like a map. History can also be laid out just like a map by God because He is in absolute control. The Bible is best understood looking at the big picture; Jesus Christ! Yet, the detail can be studied unto the most minuet blade of grass. God is awesome. His plan is perfect. He can't be thwarted. Everything is laid out to be studied and understood. In the beginning to the end! The pathway is clearly marked. There is only one way! There are many false trails that go nowhere. They can be clearly identified by looking at this map. I met a Christian Indian in Tolk, Alaska. We went down the Tolk River, and up a high mountain to survey the land for signs of elk or moose. He pointed out the many trails that could be seen from our vantage point in the wilderness. He showed me some that were very appealing, but he said they were false trails. They really went nowhere. We sat there to eat lunch, and he told me how his life had been one false trail after another. It wasn't until my missionary friend Mike came to live in Tolk that he was able to find the only true trail in Christ. He told of the many who passed through over the years. The Jehovah Witnesses who walked a false trail of works. He spoke of the Charismatic effort, but he instinctively knew there was something wrong with their attempts to induce mystical practices to him. With Mike came Christ, sufficient to save by grace. Finally the truth he prayed for had come. He now had purpose in life. He was no longer going in circles, or down dead end trails. He asked that we pray for his son who was still lost. Who was still walking on the false trails. How precious are those who understand the Bible from beginning to end. Who can direct the lost to the narrow path. Who can recognize the false trails. Who can proclaim the gospel of Christ, and get lost sinners pointed in the right direction.. I remember what a sacrifice it was for Mike to move his family, and especially his three little girls to Tolk. Alcoholism was rampant. Indian power like black power was the rage, and a white missionary was exemplified as the enemy by both white and red man. He went anyway! Many of us feared for his tiny little girls who were the most petite things in the Church I attended in Kenai, Alaska. Later, he told me those little girls opened more doors for the gospel in that all Indian community then any other factor. The map maker knows His trade well. His plan in its minutest detail reaches to the most remote of people even in Tolk, Alaska. The missionary arrives at just the right moment. The only way is revealed to the lost wanderer.
"and it was written on the face and on the back"
This is unusual as most scrolls are written only on the inside. The old Jewish Sages see the blessings on one side, and the curses on the other. The word of God is a two edged sword. Grace and mercy have a price. The price is judgment and condemnation. Heaven on one side, hell on the other. The gift of God offered freely on one side. The wrath of God declared irrevocable to those who reject on the other.
29 And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.
Every preacher is responsible to present both sides of the scroll. Great pressure is being brought to bear today to read one side, but not the other. Positive thinking, speaking, and doing is the trail to worldly success, and It is true. That is not what Ezekiel was being called to accomplish. It is not what should concern the Bible teacher of today either. Both sides of the map must be presented. Both sides of the scroll must be read, and proclaimed. A one sided God is not Biblical. A one sided plan is a lie.
The Great Awakening which is the last revival to take place in Church history was noted for the balance between the gospel message and hell fire. Both sides of the scroll were presented. The hell fire is significantly missing today. Who would leave the broad trail if there were no consequences to just walking along? Who would leave the Roman Catholic Church or a liberal denomination if we are all going to heaven? Who cares that the Charismatic claims are such obvious lies so long as they profess being born again? Hell fire would shake them to the core if it were preached as it was during the Great Awakening. That is not being "Christian" in today's evangelism methodology. Sadly, hell fire is not applied today! It has no emphases and therefore no effect on those who call themselves Christian. It has even less effect on those who are not.
"and written on it were weepings, and mourning, and woe"
weepings, and mourning, and woe is not what many would admit the Bible teaches. It is not the positive message that wins friends and influences people. Woe to the Charismatic who willingly goes along with the lies. It is not long before he who was victimized becomes the victimizer. What is the end of adding to salvation in Christ with mystical speaking in tongues, or a second experience? Hell fire is the answer to those who add to the perfection of salvation in Christ alone. The Great Apostate Church is growing daily. It is built upon lies. Lies of the Roman Catholic Church, lies of the liberal protestants, lies of the neo-evangelical compromisers, lies of the phony Baptists, and lies of the Charismatic movement that intertwines it all. The Bible is clear that weeping and mourning will be the end for all the liars. The irrevocable wrath of God will manifest itself on all those who make up Apostate Christianity. There may be some who are victims of the lies, but they are few. They are certainly in a precarious place. They need to get centered on the narrow path. I don't see walking on the broad trail as giving assurance to anyone? A trail of tears is the only end I see on the broad way of lies. The Bible reveals the past is dominated by those who never left the false trails. They are lost and in hell this very moment. It can be no different today.
There can be no weepings and mourning. It comes with the assurance that right doctrine brings. Finding right doctrine is hard work. It is that heart searching Bible application work between you and God. Right doctrine will always be confirmed in the heart by the Holy Spirit. The Roman Catholic will leave the system that for so long has deceived him. The liberal Christian will see abortion is wrong. The Evangelical will realize the truth about why separation is the only way to represent Christ Wrong doctrine will bring doubts. Every tongues speaking Charismatic knows what I am speaking about right now! They know the doubts before committing to this mystical aberration. Lockstep is the false trail that leads to hell.
12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
18(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
Dwell well and long on what this old man is
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Edited by DDSrail January 26, 2001