God is shooting to kill
God now tells Israel via the prophet Ezekiel that it is high time for payback for all their rebellion against Him. Several times in this chapter does the Lord tell Ezekiel to warn the disobedient Jews of impending judgement.
The Canadian preacher D. A. Carson puts it like this ‘God is shooting to kill.' This chapter clearly highlights the need for Christians to urgently preach repentance towards God as part of the Full Gospel message.
God has appointed His church as watchmen to the nations.
Judgment on Israel Is Near
1 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,2 “And you, son of man, thus says the Lord God to the land of Israel:
‘An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. 3 Now the end has come upon you, And I will send My anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations. 4 My eye will not spare you, Nor will I have pity; But I will repay your ways, And your abominations will be in your midst; Then you shall know that I am the Lord!’
Several times in this chapter the Lord tells Ezekiel to warn the Israelites that the end has come i.e. they are past the time for repentance and that God has had enough of them. God is angry and will judge them according to their own standards. If the wages of sin is death, then the Jews have been working overtime. The Jews had gone so far in rebellion against God that He has reached stage where He refuses to spare them or indeed show further pity on them. God is going to let them feel the full wrath of His fury on their abominations right in the midst of the people. They will not mistake the source of these judgements and it will be clear they are from God Almighty.
5 “Thus says the Lord God:
‘A disaster, a singular disaster; Behold, it has come!
6 An end has come, The end has come; It has dawned for you; Behold, it has come! 7 Doom has come to you, you who dwell in the land; The time has come, A day of trouble is near, And not of rejoicing in the mountains. 8 Now upon you I will soon pour out My fury, And spend My anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations.
The Lord continues his pronouncement of disaster upon the nation of Israel indicating that it has already started. The time of trouble and judgement is now upon them, and they are inescapably doomed for the Lord is going to pour out the full measure of his anger upon them. God will judge their ways and measure his punishment against this.
9 ‘My eye will not spare, Nor will I have pity; I will repay you according to your ways, And your abominations will be in your midst. Then you shall know that I am the Lord who strikes.
Again the Lord stresses that the Israelites are now beyond Him turning a blind eye or even taking pity on them. He also restates the judgement is on their lifestyles and those abominations amid where they dwell. The Lord will personally strike them suggesting His honour has been profaned.
10 ‘Behold, the day! Behold, it has come! Doom has gone out; The rod has blossomed, Pride has budded. 11 Violence has risen up into a rod of wickedness; None of them shall remain, None of their multitude, None of them; Nor shall there be wailing for them. 12 The time has come, The day draws near.
The time of savage judgement has now arrived bringing doom onto the disobedient. Their sin is fully ripened, and they are filled with pride. Violence and wickedness have reached their full measure. Not a single a one of the guilty will escape and no one will mourn their passing.
Pay-back time from God is knocking on the door.
‘Let not the buyer rejoice, Nor the seller mourn, For wrath is on their whole multitude.
13 For the seller shall not return to what has been sold, Though he may still be alive; For the vision concerns the whole multitude, And it shall not turn back; No one will strengthen himself Who lives in iniquity.
The upcoming judgements will confer no advantage either to buyers or sellers since all the people are coming under God’s judgement. There is no way out of these judgements for any of the guilty and they will certainly be punished. There is no defence against the judgements of God.
14 ‘They have blown the trumpet and made everyone ready, But no one goes to battle; For My wrath is on all their multitude. 15 The sword is outside, And the pestilence and famine within. Whoever is in the field Will die by the sword; And whoever is in the city, Famine and pestilence will devour him.
The Jews think they can in some way resist the upcoming judgements by being battle-ready. But is God Himself who is wielding the sword against those Jews outside of Jerusalem and He himself is also instigating famine and disease inside the city. There is no escape for most Jews except for a small remnant.
16 ‘Those who survive will escape and be on the mountains Like doves of the valleys, All of them mourning, Each for his iniquity. 17 Every hand will be feeble, And every knee will be as weak as water. 18 They will also be girded with sackcloth; Horror will cover them; Shame will be on every face, Baldness on all their heads.
A small remnant will escape to the mountains and go into deep mourning for their own sins. This remnant will be weak and feeble and clothed in sackcloth. Their faces will show both shame and horror and their heads will be shaved bald.
19 ‘They will throw their silver into the streets, And their gold will be like refuse; Their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them In the day of the wrath of the Lord; They will not satisfy their souls, Nor fill their stomachs, Because it became their stumbling block of iniquity.
Their treasures of gold and silver that they idolised will be unable to save them and will neither be able to appease the wrath of God nor even buy food for them to eat.
20 ‘As for the beauty of his ornaments, He set it in majesty; But they made from it The images of their abominations— Their detestable things; Therefore I have made it Like refuse to them. 21 I will give it as plunder Into the hands of strangers, And to the wicked of the earth as spoil; And they shall defile it. 22 I will turn My face from them, And they will defile My secret place; For robbers shall enter it and defile it.
God had provided them will gold and silver to make the holy things for use in the Holy Temple, but they has spat in God’s face as it were by using them to make heathen images. The Lord has rubbed their noses in it by showing them that their gold and silver have no value to help them, and that eventually evil men will take it all away one day. In fact God is going to permit one day that evil men will enter and plunder the sanctuary in His Holy Temple.
23 ‘Make a chain, For the land is filled with crimes of blood, And the city is full of violence. 24 Therefore I will bring the worst of the Gentiles, And they will possess their houses; I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease, And their holy places shall be defiled. 25 Destruction comes; They will seek peace, but there shall be none. 26 Disaster will come upon disaster, And rumour will be upon rumour. Then they will seek a vision from a prophet; But the law will perish from the priest, And counsel from the elders.
The Jews are sinners and criminals and are only fit to be chained up. Murder and violence are so rife that God is going to handpick the very worst of the Gentile nations to come and completely defile all that is sacred to them including the very sanctuary of the Living God. These Jews may seek peace, but they can forget it. Disaster upon disaster will flood over them like waves and even cause further rumours of more doom. In their desperation the Jews will try to find a word of comfort from a prophet or from the Law, but the word of the Lord will not come to them.
27 ‘The king will mourn, The prince will be clothed with desolation, And the hands of the common people will tremble. I will do to them according to their way, And according to what they deserve I will judge them; Then they shall know that I am the Lord!’”
God will judge everyone from the king down causing them to tremble with fear. God is now going to cause them to reap the bitter crop of all the evil they have sowed. No one will be any doubt as to who is behind all these judgements i.e. the Lord God Almighty.