Ezekiel 3:22-4:8
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Ezekiel: oracle-by-oracle | Session 3 | Ezekiel 3:22-4:8

Ezekiel 1:1-12:28 | The Desolation

Ezekiel 1:1–3:27 | First Vision (by Chebar)

Ezekiel 3:10-23 | The Cherubim

  • Verses 10-21 – /included in session 2/
  • Verses 22-23 – The Command and the obedience of Ezekiel
    • The command and the obedience of Ezekiel.
    • In the previous command (vv. 10-11), Ezekiel was instructed to take all the words of the Lord to those in captivity. The Spirit then took him to Tel-Abib (v. 15), where he spent seven days before receiving the word of the Lord, which was a warning to be the watchman.
    • Now another command comes, and that is to go forth into the plain where God would give further instruction. When he arrived, he saw the glory of the Lord in a visible manner.

      Ezekiel 3:24-27 | The Mission of Ezekiel

  • Verse 24 –
    • Previously (Ezek. 1:28) Ezekiel had found himself in the Lord’s presence, where he also fell upon my face (Ezek. 1:28, 3:23) and then the Spirit set me upon my feet (Ezek. 2:2, 3:24) and the Lord then spoke. (See graphic).
    • Here is the /mirror image/ of the previous experience. Both are followed with instructions.
    • The current instruction is simply to put himself under /house arrest/.

      C | 1:1-28. The Cherubim. D | 1:28. Prostration of Ezekiel. E | 2:1, 2. Raised by the Spirit. F | 2:3-3:9. Mission of Ezekiel. C | 3:10-23. The Cherubim. D | 3:23. Prostration of Ezekiel. E | 3:24. Raised by the Spirit. F | 3:24-27. Mission of Ezekiel.

  • Verses 25-26 –
    • The verb translated they shall put and they shall bind is in the perfect tense and can be taken as having been completed (see Young’s Literal Translation).
      • Thus, the verse, in context, would be stating to Ezekiel that he had fulfilled the watchman requirements of the previous version, but that the stubbornness of the people had made any further testimony to be fruitless.
      • The binding, therefore, was not physical. The Lord would not allow Ezekiel to “waste his breath” any longer, for theyarea rebellious house (v. 26).
    • Through this, we are reminded of the instruction of Paul to redeem the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:16) and 2 Timothy 4:3, which warns of the day in which men will not endure sound doctrine.
  • Verse 27 –
    • Even in fruitless situations, the Lord would, at times, open Ezekiel’s mouth and force him to speak. See Ezekiel 24:27, 29:21, 33:22.
    • The phrase, He that heareth, let him hear is used similarly in the letters to the messengers of the seven assemblies (Rev. 2-3). The context here helps us know that those references (and others) carry /this context/ (as all references to the Old Testament within the New do), and thus they are in the context of pending judgment.

      Ezekiel 4:1-7:27 | Signs

      Ezekiel 4:1-8 | The City

  • Verses 1-3 - The City: under siege
    • Ezekiel is beginning a series of /signs/ to communicate judgment to Israel.
      • Recall that when the people rejected Jesus, He began to speak to them in parables (Matt. 13:13).
      • When people have /ears/ but do not /hear/ the plain testimony of God, He often resorts to /hidden testimony/.
    • The first /hidden testimony/ is to create the portrayal of the city of Jerusalem on a tile and then to lay siege against it. Then he was to take an iron pan(or flat plate) to put as a wall of iron between thee and the city. No doubt this expressed the abandonment of Jerusalem by God, and even His attack against the city.
    • This act was a sign to the house of Israel. In Ezekiel, we must distinguish this from the House of Judah.
  • Verses 4- 5 – The Left Side
    • Ezekiel is instructed to lie upon thy left side for 390 days. The Hebrew, translated, I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity according to the number of days can be taken to mean, “I put up with them for years, but I am being gracious and only giving you days/.”/
    • For 390 days Ezekiel was to remember the sins of Israel, committed for 390 years. But to what period does this 390-year segment belong?
      • The most common conservative Christian interpretation is that it was 390 years from the beginning of the Northern Kingdom of Israel to the fall of Jerusalem. However, this includes over 125 years in which the Kingdom did not exist, having been destroyed by the Assyrians. This does fit the picture of the siege of Jerusalem as the end-point.
      • On the other hand, Rashi, a medieval Jewish sage, expresses a rather complicated yet somewhat convincing argument that there were a specific 390 years in which the northern tribes sinned, from the days of Joshua through the fall of the Kingdom under the Assyrians. For Rashi’s full interpretation, see https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16102/jewish/Chapter-4.htm/showrashi/true
  • Verses 6-8 – The Right Side
    • In similar fashion, Ezekiel was to lie again on thy right side, this time for 40 days, expressing the iniquity of the house of Judah.
    • The 40-day period represented 40 years of iniquity, but which 40 years?
      • The common Christian interpretation of the 390 years becomes inclusive of the entire time from the division of the kingdom through the destruction of Jerusalem, and thus the most recent 40 year period would be included in the above 390.
      • Some have said that the reign of Solomon is under consideration, but this has little merit and only the similarity of the 40 years.
      • Others consider this to be the time period from the destruction of Jerusalem to the going forth to rebuild the Temple (thus counting from 588 to 518BC) - see F. W. Grant, /The Numerical Bible./
      • Rashi, the Jewish sage, calculates 40 years of the reigns of evil kings of Judah that took place /after/ the fall of Israel, thus after the 390 years. This seems to me to be the most well-thought conclusion.
    • Ezekiel was to be on his side a total of 430 days, representing 430 years. Rashi does the calculations to compute the 70 Sabbatical years required by the prophesy given to Jeremiah (2 Chron. 36:20-21).
    • Ezekiel was to have his arm uncovered during this time. Presumably, this is “like a fighter.”
    • The Lord tells Ezekiel, I will lay bands upon thee. Young’s Literal says, “I have put on thee thick bands.” That is, God is restricting Ezekiel’s freedom until thou hast ended the days of thy siege.
KJV: Genesis 1