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Studies in Ezekiel Chapters 25-28

The Visions of the Judgment of the Nations around Israel (Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyrus)

Preached at a meeting of the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony in London, June 23 2017, By Rev Ivan Foster


To stream or download, click SGAT – Ezekiel 25-28


These 4 chapters detail the judgments of God which befell the nations around Israel at the hand of Babylon back some 2600 years ago.

Three of the chapters deal with Tyrus. I believe that what is here read is a picture, a foreshadowing of the future judgments of God against the Antichrist and his allies.

The Bible says that: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun,” Ecclesiastes 1:9.
Such a statement is entirely logical.

Man is unchanging in his spiritual disposition and constitution.

Contrary to the Evolutionist’s silly notion that man is on an upward moral path, in truth man is ever on the sinful, depraved downward path. It is only by God’s constraining providence that mankind has not long ago plunged into unspeakable depths of universal darkness and the damnation that will follow.

No, man being the same he ever seeks out the same sinful paths as did his forefathers.
God being the same, and He is, “For I am the LORD, I change not,” Malachi 3:6, His response to sin has ever been the same.

When nations sin as nations have before, then the judgments that will follow such sin will again be as the judgments of the past.

The chapter 25 deals with the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Edomites and the Philistines. I do not intend examining each declaration of judgment against these nations for that would require more time than is available to us tonight.

I wish to highlight important features in these chapters.

I. FOR ISRAEL, THE MOUTH THAT UTTERED JUDGMENT ALSO SPOKE OF DELIVERANCE AND RETRIBUTION AGAINST THEIR ENEMIES.

Doubtless, there was comfort for poor distressed Israel in these words of judgment against those who had rejoiced in their distresses which followed their apostasy.
They had received God’s word of judgment, 21:1-17 and what a terrible word it was. Note that the word ‘sword’ appears many times. It is the sword of God’s judgment. When will men learn that it is a terrible and fearful thing to sin and to “fall into the hands of the living God,” Hebrews 10:31.

But now it was the turn of the enemy to be condemned.

It does not pay to mock at the distress of God’s people. “And say unto the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou saidst, Aha, against my sanctuary, when it was profaned; and against the land of Israel, when it was desolate; and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity . . . . For thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast clapped thine hands, and stamped with the feet, and rejoiced in heart with all thy despite against the land of Israel; Behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and will deliver thee for a spoil to the heathen; and I will cut thee off from the people, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries: I will destroy thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD. . . And I will execute judgments upon Moab; and they shall know that I am the LORD. . . . . Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword. And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD.  . . . . Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart, to destroy it for the old hatred; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims, and destroy the remnant of the sea coast,” Ezekiel 25:3, 6-7, 11, 13-16. “Son of man, because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people: she is turned unto me: I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock,” Ezekiel 26:2-4.

We can learn from these words.

1. Such truths preserve us from despair in the midst of tribulation. “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day,” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10.

2. They keep us back from seeking revenge against our tormentors. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord,” Romans 12:19. Hear the words of the Pslamist. “For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.” God preserves His people from seeking vengeance.

3. Being aware of God’s judgments serves to keep us in the fear of God. “And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?” 1 Chronicles 13:12. “And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things,” Acts 5:5.
Is there not a great absence of such a fear today?

II. NOTE THE DISPOSITION OF THE PROPHET.

“Son of man, set thy face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them,” Ezekiel 25:2.

It is no light thing to pronounce God’s judgments against sin. This rather cuts across the light and frivolous spirit so often seen in pulpits today!

1. In this he displayed God’s disposition. His countenance was to be appropriate to the solemn words he was to utter. When God’s truth is in our hearts our countenances will reflect it. So it was with Elisha as he spoke God’s terrible word to Hazel. “And he settled his countenance stedfastly, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept,” 2 Kings 8:11.

2. Such a disposition will draw the world’s hatred. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus,” Acts 4:13. It was what they ‘saw’ that caught their attention as was also the case with Stephen. “And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel,” Acts 6:15. Despite that they stoned him to death!

3. It is a terrible thing to have God’s face against you. In truth, it seals your eternal doom. “And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name,” Leviticus 20:3, 26:14-17.

III. THE REASONS FOR THE JUDGMENT

We have already noted the words of 25:3, 6, 8, 12, 13-15. Note “because”!

1. God has a record of the sins against His people. 27:27-36; Rev 18:4-5.

2. It is a record even of the words spoken against His people. 26:2. “Son of man, because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people: she is turned unto me: I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste,” Ezekiel 25:3, 8, 26:2. Remember the words of the Saviour. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment,” Matthew 12:36.

3. All linked with the enemies will suffer. 27:27. The importance of ‘separation’ will then be known. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues,” Revelation 18:4.

It is a doctrine much despised today and indeed it is called sinful and unchristian. That will be seen as a grave error one day.

IV. GOD’S JUDGMENTS ARE MOST DREADFUL

25:10-11, 13, 15-17; 26:3-6, 21.

1. The strongest of terms are employed by the Lord. There is no exaggeration with the Lord (unlike North Korea). 25:10, 13, 14 (anger, fury), 16 (cut off etc.)

2. Israel will be God’s instrument of judgment. “And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD,” Ezekiel 25:14.

Isaiah 11:14, 41:14-16;  Jeremiah 51:19-24; Micah 4:8-13; Zechariah 9:13-17.

3. Then shall the divine order be established. Deut 28:1-14. From verse 15 we are told why it is with Israel as it is today!

May the Lord be pleased to bless these words to our hearts.

Bible pictures of Christ, Pt126

Isaiah’s wonderful Picture – Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

Scripture: Isaiah 53:7-12.

This is our final study in this series. It will bring our studies to number 126. The series started in September 2015.

There is no better place to finish than in the verses before us.

1. Here is the substitutionary death of Christ emphasised again.

This is the very heart of the gospel! “For the transgression of my people was he stricken,” V 8. The Saviour died for a specific people. His elect, His sheep. See Rom 8:32; Gal 3:13; Eph 5:2; 1 John 4:10.

2. The character of the Saviour displayed as He suffered.

He was a most uncomplaining Redeemer. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth,” V 7.
I believe this shows the utter willingness of the Lord Jesus to suffer and die for His people. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” Rom 5:6-8.

3. The chief sufferings of the Saviour came from Jehovah.

“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, 10.
God punished His dearly beloved Son for the sins of the people He had made His. How wonderful this is!!
Here is how much we are loved.

4. The sufferings of Christ accomplish wonderfully the eternal purpose of God.

Isaiah 53:10-12.
“He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”
“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”
“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Note this verse highlights once more. VICTORY, SUFFERING, PRAYER.
Remember the words of the Saviour in Luke 24:25-27. “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself,” Luke 24:25-27.

Click to stream or download, Bible pictures of Christ, Pt126

Bible pictures of Christ, Pt125

Pictures of Christ – 16
Isaiah’s wonderful Picture – Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

Let us stand before this portrait of our Saviour on the cross and lovingly and reverently note what is set before us.

We are more privileged than those who actually stood at Calvary. They did not fully understand what was happening, Luke 24:15-17, but here we have God’s explanation of those dark and sombre events.

A very clear statement. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted,” Isaiah 53:4. He was the sin-bearer smitten of God.

A detailed explanation. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed,” Isaiah 53:5. The sufferings were His. The benefits were ours.

Wounded, bruised, chastised, stripes. His sufferings were severe and many. Mixture of words which denote the great and unknowable pain, the shame, the grief He bore when He became ‘sin for us’.

The benefits we obtained were likewise immeasurable and innumerable.

A telling illustration. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” Isaiah 53:6.

All – There is no exception to the sinfulness of mankind.

Like sheep have gone astray. We habitually, deliberately sinned. We left the paths of God’s law and the fields of obedience.

Turned every one to his own way. Rejected God and became our own gods and kings. Like the Prodigal son we left the ‘Father’s house’ and went into the far country away from His rule and presence.

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others,” Eph 2:2-3.

Where are you today? In the safety of the Saviour’s fold or out on the mountains amidst great danger?

Click to stream or download, Bible pictures of Christ, Pt125

Some further thoughts about Gideon, Pt2

IN HIS DEALINGS WITH GIDEON, GOD SHOWS HIS KINDNESS, PATIENCE AND LOVE

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust,” Psalm 103:13-14. “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth,” Isaiah 42:3.

1. Backsliding leaves us forgetful of God’s past mercies. This the prophet addressed, vvs 8-9.

2. Backsliding leaves us weak and filled with doubt. This good man had a problem with doubts and unbelief! Gideon was slow to recognise the Lord, verses 11-12. So it was in Laodicea, Rev 3:20. Plain Bible preaching seems ‘strange’Notice, it was the Lord Who came, appeared and spoke.

3. Backsliding leaves us full of questioning. Why? Where? Wherewith? These questions denote his ignorance. He does not seem to know the link between sin and judgment. Wherewith? He is limited in His view of God’s power. This is the consequence of sin and backsliding. We have a very diminished view of God.

4. The Lord patiently strengthens his faith. Vs 17, 36-40, 7:9.

THE VICTORY OVER THE MIDIANITES WAS TOTAL

“And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb,” 7:25.

The Midianites are never mentioned again in the OT except in reference to this victory. “Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison,” Psalm 83:9, see verse 6. This Psalm is prophetic and speaks of the events foretold in Psalm 2.

TWO OTHER REFERENCE TO THIS VICTORY LINKS IT TO CHRIST’S VICTORY OVER ANTICHRIST

Isaiah 9:4, 10:24-27. ‘The Assyrian’ is one the titles of the Antichrist of Rev 13. The victory of the Lord over the Assyrian in Hezekiah’s day pictures for us the future victory over the Antichrist.

1. When the Lord visits His people and blesses them it is always a foretaste of that great and final victory. All past and future victories spring from the cross where the powers of the devil were broken. We presently enjoy the benefits of it but we will yet see the full and final fruit of that glorious event.

2. How confident we may be of God blessing us today when we view the great victory that is on the horizon. It is because of the ultimate overcoming of the devil and his agents at Calvary that we can look to the Lord for a measure of that victory today. As Gideon was given a foretaste of that future victory even so may we experience it.

Click to stream or download, Some further thoughts on Gideon, Pt 2

Some further thoughts on Gideon, Pt1

Scripture: Judges 6-7

Last Lord’s Day morning we were treated to a wonderfully instructive message, preached by Rev Gordon Ferguson and based upon the story of Gideon in the book of Judges.

I personally was much blessed by the message, so much so that I would like to return to those chapters in Judges.

There is an inexhaustible depth to God’s Word and no preacher could ever bring out all the blessings that are in any passage, never mind one so rich as that which deals with the history of Israel in Gideon’s day.

By returning to this passage I am in no way implying any deficiency in Mr Ferguson’s message or preaching but rather seeking to explore a little the wonderful scenes he brought before us here last week.

The wonderful deliverance wrought by God in the days of Gideon began with a little noticed event.

I. THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL BEGAN WITH THE SENDING OF A PROPHET

“And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel,” Judges 6:7-8.
He is not named, for his name is unimportant, but his message is recorded.

1. There is always a return to the Bible before there is a move of God amongst His people. The Word of God is the “seed” from which all spiritual life springs. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever,” 1 Peter 1:23. As it was us individually, so it is with us collectively. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,” John 6:63. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth,” James 1:18. “Quicken thou me according to thy word,” Psalm 119:25.
Revival blessing will always be ‘according’ to His word. The Bible holds the key, not man’s notions of religious success and inventions to supposedly stir up interest in the things of God.

2. The message of the prophet is timeless. A reminding of past mercies, of past instructions, present disobedience! It will thus be ever so! It is the old message calling us to the ‘old paths’! “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein,” Jer 6:16.

3. That message is what generated the attitude and actions of Gideon. He treasured the fruit of Israel, hiding it from the enemy. He had listened to the prophet, vv 8, 13. He is echoing the prophet. He was looking for a further display of the great power which had delivered Israel in the past. Here is where the expectation of revival comes from.

Click to stream or download, Some further thoughts on Gideon, Pt 1