I have been asked to post the notes for the Ezekiel Class I taught a few months ago, and I am getting around to it. Curiously, that class and its content has been on my heart a good deal lately, and I am praying into that – perhaps even to circle back and teach all or part of it again in some way, shape or form. Meanwhile, below are the notes I sent out BEFORE the class started. They are called Laying The Groundwork. This portion of prophetic scripture in Ezekiel (Chapters 33-39) is critical to our understanding of God’s priority of Israel during the days in which we live, and the days into which we are headed.
The notes are directly from the class. They might have some references to slides, etc. that were displayed during the class. Bear w me please re those kind of things.
EZEKIEL CLASS – LAYING THE GROUNDWORK
I am sure I’ll be covering some of these points and verses DURING the class, but I did want you to have them in advance, so you might ponder and pray into them, and know where I’m coming from,
Pardon typos. These are my notes. I’ll try to get them right, but there’s lots of ground to cover.
These note and my teachings are my opinion, and I am accountable to the Lord for that.
This is how I see the scriptures. If you see them differently, God bless you.
Ezekiel is a powerfully prophetic book that points heavily towards end-of-the-age activity, particularly as it pertains to God’s plans for Israel.
Regardless of your end-times outlook – all of the scriptures were written for all of the saints, throughout all of the ages. That is why Paul wrote this to his spiritual son Timothy:
2 Tim 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
There are different seasons when the Spirit might highlight and emphasize certain portions of written prophetic revelation, and there are also seasons when new things will be revealed by God so that the saints might move in greater alignment with God, as He moves. That requirement for fresh revelation is divinely intended to keep us desperate for Him, and in prayer, in the Spirit.
It is precisely why the Lord said this to Daniel, as the seasoned old prophet wondered about certain revelations he had received:
26 “And the vision of the evenings and mornings which was told is true; therefore seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future.”
Jeremiah was told this:
18 For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD, and has perceived and heard His word? Who has marked His word and heard it?
19 Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD has gone forth in fury– a violent whirlwind! It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.
20 The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the latter days you will understand it perfectly.
And we were told this:
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
There are certain things about God and His plans that people will simply not fully know nor understand until the time-seal on those mysteries are unlocked. That doesn’t mean we can’t walk in fullness now. It simply means there’s more, later.
We therefore are invited to walk in that dynamic of knowing that we don’t fully know, trusting that God says what He means and means what He says, whether we fully agree with how He might be planning to do something, or not. He doesn’t ask for the approval of man.
In the caves of Qumran, the Dead Sea Scrolls testified as to the focus and popularity of the writings of Daniel – more copies of that scroll were found than any other. It was that powerfully prophetic writing that prepared those “with ears to hear” to recognize the timing of heaven for the first appearance of their Savior.
At that time, many in Jerusalem wanted synagogue-as-usual. They were even content with synagogue-as-usual when the Romans conquered them, because of their religious status-quo, although blanketed by cruel Rome, for the most part allowed their religious order to remain intact. It was sort of multi-level marketing – you be a rabbi and control your people (and feel empowered by that), and meanwhile I’ll sit in my Roman villa, commanding centurions, who will control you.
But there were others studying the scrolls, doing the prophetic math, looking forward to the season of their Savior’s appearing. Granted, they were unaware of the SECOND coming scheduling, and wrongly presumed when Jesus arrived He’d give the Romans a whooping and all would be well. But God was OK with their ignorance of that point. He had chosen to not yet reveal that to them. That would come later.
Even after His resurrection they did not quite have it accurate, asking Him:
6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
Nonetheless, for what they were given to understand, they were able to recognize Jesus as Savior, and a good number came to salvation and the church was born, while most of their brethren stood and called for Barabbas to be set free and saying this about killing the innocent One:
25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”
And so it has been, for 2,000 years.
Meanwhile God even knew beforehand of that betrayal (it, too, had been prophesied earlier), and in His mercy had already provided for the eventual redemption of a remnant of Israel, meanwhile opening a glorious and wide door for the salvation of the Gentiles. His timing is perfect and His plans are glorious.
This brief class is not intended to place a circle on a date on your prophetic calendar, but rather to look into and hopefully explain WHAT God has said must and therefore WILL occur prior to our Lord’s second coming.
It surely involves all of us as the church. It surely involves the people and the land of Israel.
I believe we will come away from these two classes more convinced of God’s faithfulness, love, relentless pursuit of mankind, and hatred for sin. I pray you will walk away enthralled more than ever about the magic and majesty of the entire word of God.
I humbly contend that the things we’re seeing on the nightly news, internet, etc are markers to alert us that something is going on, on an unprecedented worldwide scale (with much of the darkest evil in the prophesied locations), and that those happenings align with biblical prophecy.
Once again, I personally feel we are in a season of preparation as much as revelation, and that, at this juncture, our to-the-day mathematical conclusions as to the return of Jesus would be unwise. There are simply too many HHY’s (“Haven’t Happened Yet”s) for us to make such religious assumptions. Regarding such timing searches, Jesus made it clear that no man knows the day nor hour. He did not say no one will be able to identify the season, however. Nor did He say there will not be signs preceding His return. To the contrary.
So there are things we won’t know, and there are things revealed to us that we are therefore accountable to look into. We cannot play the Dumb Card. Nor the Too-Busy Card. The Not My Calling Card. Nor any card.
Jesus called religious leaders actors (hypocrites) for not recognizing the signs of their times. How much more are we accountable, now? We can always choose ignorance and denial, but I cannot find biblical reference for that mindset ever bringing success. History has proven the jeopardy of denial. I am personally the only son of an only son of an only son. The rest of my family didn’t feel it necessary to flee Europe during increasing persecution of Jews, and that was prior to World War One.
My prayer for this class is that, in its conclusion, you are more convinced of the inerrancy of scripture, more convinced that Jesus is our only hope, and more convinced that spending your life loving and serving the One who spent it all for you – is the best deal in all of eternity.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?
One of the great things about SOUND doctrine is that it SOUNDS right. It stands the scrutiny of other scripture. There is nothing that needs to avoid being taught or discussed. No new or additional revelation of God will ever contradict the prior truths of God. That is key to us fending off sideways doctrines that will want to invade the church as the times continue. Jude, Paul, Peter, and of course our Lord Jesus warned us in advance of that dark effort. That DOES NOT MEAN that anyone disagreeing with you re future events is your enemy, nor demonized. That position is madness, and divisive. Nonetheless, us knowing what God has provided for us to know will be our best safeguard and assurance of success, in Him.
Got all that?
It would be good for us, even prior to beginning our four hour live study into chapters 33-39, to establish some theological groundwork for our understanding of the current and future-days validity and relevance of these chapters. Simply put, all has not been fulfilled.
I’m confident no Bible-believing saint would question the GENERAL validity of scripture, but the greater understanding is that Ezekiel is not simply prophesying about things that were to come in the near future (shortly after his life, or even only during the first century of the church), but rather that he was indeed speaking about many things that would come at the END OF THIS AGE. We’ll see that most clearly when we read some of God’s promises to Israel. One trip to the Land will confirm they have not yet been fulfilled.
I believe that understanding will guard us from buying into “all the tough stuff is pretty much behind us” mindset that would have us beating our swords into plowshares right now, while it is in fact time to be beating our plowshares into swords – allowing the Spirit to be training our hands for war. In prior recent times folks in Israel have wanted to claim the scriptures of the kids safely playing in the streets with old men hanging out. I don’t think those are popular verses right now. God is teaching the Jews as well as the church.
The conclusion of this theo-drama is not to be compared with any time prior. Daniel told us that (Dan 12:1). Jesus told us that (Matt 24:21). It will surely climax. Our God is indeed a Drama-King. Burning bushes? Red Sea partings? C’mon.
Our understanding of the timing of Ezekiel’s prophesies yet to be fully-filled (I use that to emphasize the FULLNESS in FULFILLMENT) will help us in our learning focus, our prayer focus, and our ability to withstand mindsets that would lull us into a complacency. The jeopardy is the disarmed church, and meanwhile I believe God has purposed for His saints to be heading into a season of greatest conflict and potentially greatest glory. David Pawson, a seasoned theologian from England, stated that one of the big “missing keys” to the Western church being able to embrace end times prophecy is – Persecution. We don’t have that key, yet. Other parts of the world do.
SOME POINTS TO PONDER in establishing this logic trail:
POINT 1. Jesus was not a “fix” that God hurriedly came up with as He watched the failure of mankind to live up to the law of Moses – confirmed by the following:
(The plan for Jesus’ crucifixion was established even prior to the creation.)
8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
(The WAY-EARLY Genesis 3 prophecy of a woman bringing forth a savior who would destroy the works of satan – hinting of a virgin birth since women do not have seed).
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
(The Father has already revealed His purposes in His Son – for that Son to break, dash in pieces and then to rule and reign, to judge the nations upon His second appearing. This was prophesied by David. Since it Hasn’t Happened Yet – HHY, it indeed will happen)
7 “I will declare the decree: the LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.'” (Hmmm. Sounds forceful, violent)
10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
CONCLUSION 1: Jesus’ first and second comings have been eternally planned, and all of the plans for Jesus, by God, will occur. Jesus’ crucifixion not being a hastily contrived fix – that means God already had His whole Savior-plan in place PRIOR to anointing the Old Testament (OT) prophets to write their prophecies.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND? The fact that His crucifixion was known by God prior to that same God moving upon the prophet Ezekiel, it would be ludicrous to conclude that Ezekiel (or any true prophet) writing about future events as they were led by the Spirit, would put forth anything that would then be erased or over-ridden by Jesus in the first century.
To the contrary, every word of Ezekiel, if indeed Ezekiel was anointed by God, would be CONFIRMED by the appearance of Jesus. God confirms the words of His prophets:
26 Who confirms the word of His servant, and performs the counsel of His messengers; who says to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be inhabited,’ to the cities of Judah, ‘You shall be built,’ and I will raise up her waste places;
(Gee that’s a great verse. Beyond “confirming servants’ words, God has a word of Israel’s eventual restoration. Works for us!. HHY)
That said, any doctrine that would be presented to the church, declaring that Jesus trumped or eradicated or invalidated the PROPHETIC MESSAGE of any of the OT saints, and thus changed the plans of God, must be considered suspect.
POINT 2 – The fullness of God is revealed in the fullness of Christ. The fullness of the Salvation Plan was revealed to the world at His first appearance. The fullness of the Righteous Judgment of God will be revealed at His second appearance.
6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth– to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people–
7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
Jesus being the Word of God, we would do well to not deny any portion of our Christ by attempting to deny any portion of the Word.
13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
LAMB and LION: He came as the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. (John 1:29, Rev 13:8).
He will be coming again, this time as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, in flaming fire. (2 Thess. 1:8).
His FULL APPEARANCE has yet to occur. But it will occur. That is THE reason why the book of Revelation is called just that – it’s classic title is “The Book Of The Revelation Of Jesus Christ”. That is the Jesus who is returning. It is the revelation of the fullness of Christ.
POINT 3 – Jesus did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.
The laws of God remain in place. It is obvious that the requirements of the Mosaic covenant have ended (enjoy your carnitas!), but the laws of righteousness continue. We are not now free to kill or commit adultery because Jesus died for our sins.
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
His fulfillment meant He was paying the price for our sins, so that we might, through Him, come into a relationship of intimacy with the Father, and from that place of intimacy, we might then begin truly living righteously.
Had Jesus only declared verse 17, one might conclude there’s nothing left for us to do. Just “enjoy Jesus”. But He did not end His teaching at verse 17. In fact, He clarified that truth with the very next verse:
18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
That verse is huge in that it ought to drive every praying, word-trembling (Isa 66:2) saint back into the OT to read and understand what is yet to be perfectly fulfilled (HHY), down to the last punctuation mark. Every prophetic word. Every righteous instruction for true holy living. Thank God we are no longer required to fulfill the ordinances of Moses – but it should be understood that God’s righteous requirements to His people were presented to them way prior to Mount Sinai and the stone tablets. They were already accountable to Him to be living righteously. As are we.
Further to Matt 5 – Then comes the two-pronged warning label from the mouth of our Lord:
A. Don’t break one of the least commandments; AND
B. Don’t in any way diminish your eternal reward by teaching others that the commandments that remain in effect are unimportant.
19 “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
As if that was not enough, Jesus then goes on to mystify the NT saints by telling them that there were certain elements of the Pharisees that were seen by God as righteous, and that we, the NT redeemed people, by virtue of our potential for intimacy with God, ought to be walking in greater righteousness:
20 “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
The bar has been elevated for us. Greater intimacy. Greater accountability. And yes, greater grace to succeed in Him. Yea God. If you like, read Heb 12:25-29.
Everything that the Lord has told us, through the prophets, will be perfectly and completely and inarguably fulfilled.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT FOR OUR UNDERSTANDING OF EZEKIEL?
1. Much of Ezekiel has yet to be fulfilled – remember Jesus tells us everything will be fulfilled.
2. The righteous judgments of God, THROUGHOUT all of scripture, were often regarded as unfair and unreasonable. That has not changed. That is in fact the doorway for false doctrine.
In fact, since we are told deceiving men will grow worse and worse (2 Tim 3:13), so we can expect the world, through increasing rebellion, to become more and more eligible for the judgments prophesied. Those prophesied judgments will thus become less and less “unreasonable” to the church as we see how wicked mankind will become. Jesus compared the earth prior to His second coming to the earth prior to the Flood. POINT TO NOTE: The world was not improving before the Flood.
3. It is told to us that the OT people spent much time looking for prophets with an easier word than the Word of God (Isa 30:10, 1 Kings 22:8). Some things don’t change.
4. Popular doctrines sometimes teach that God will not judge man for his unrighteousness, even though God Himself proclaims that He delights in judgment, in the same way that He delights in lovingkindness and righteousness IN THE EARTH:
24 But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.
Permit me to bullet point that one verse for clarity:
24 But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising
• judgment, and
in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.
That understanding, about which the Lord invites us to rejoice, is that God indeed loves judgment as much as He loves lovingkindness and righteousness, because His judgment is fair and it actually serves to set things back into right order. Mercy surely TRIUMPHS over judgment – it is much desired and in the end will be victorious. But it does not eliminate judgment. He is coming to judge the earth in fairness, so that mercy and love can reign without resistance.
It is critical for us to understand that Israel is Ground Zero for end times events – regardless as to when you might think end times might be. Israel in fact, the centerpoint for all biblical prophesy (Daniel’s “kingdom of the north” and “kingdom of the south” are all spoken in reference to other nations’ geographical position to Israel, the land of God – Syria being north, Egypt to the south).
There is eternal divine priority on Israel, ordained by God. As much as we like to appropriate Romans 11:29 – the gifts and callings of God being irrevocable (without repentance) to encourage fallen saints of their potential for restoration (I have no problem with that. Amen), but let’s handle the word accurately – those verses are written to describe fallen Israel and its eventual restoration. This season, since 1947, is merely the genesis of that promise. Spiritually it remains for the most part without form, and void (of the true knowledge of God).
Jesus is returning for all mankind, especially for the messed up and stiff-necked people called Jews (my peops). His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, outside Jerusalem. We, the church now comprised mostly of Gentiles, are called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Satan will try to destroy Jerusalem. Those are priority truths of scripture and understanding that will help you appreciate the promises made to Israel in this portion of Ezekiel.
The Spirit-led obedience, and prayers of the saints, are destined to play a huge part in the success of the Kingdom plans, as we fill the bowls of heaven with praise and worship. Part of our “fervent and effective prayers” will be determined by whether we understand the scriptures, to pray in line with what God has told us He would be doing. That is anointed alignment. That is redeeming the (prayer) time by understanding His will.
If we lay hold of the grace to remain faithful, we win, and we win big. And through it all, the joy of the Lord will be our strength. I love that!
We’re definitely not called to just grit our teeth and simply hunker down and brace ourselves for what is coming upon the earth. Nor are we supposed to ignore that which is told us, by remixing the scriptures to something more intellectually palatable. We are called to set our affections on things above, and to find our rest in Him, assured of His love for us and His ability to keep us and lead us, for His glory.
I am preparing my teachings, and I am preparing myself, for this class. I’ve been through the book numerous times recently – reading, listening, etc.
I pray you will prepare too.
First and foremost, pray and prepare your heart.
If you can, read these chapters before we begin. Ezekiel 33-39. Just 6 chapters. Then read them again.
Read Zechariah 2 and 11-14.
Read Isaiah 52-66.