Simple Truths Revealed by Ezekiel
Ezekiel was a prophet of God who proclaimed God's word with love, boldness and simplicity. He was both a prophet and a priest. He was called "son of man" about 93 times in the book of Ezekiel. Latter the expression "Son of man" was applied to Jesus several times. It was said of Jesus, "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost." (Matthew 18:11) Ezekiel was among the Jews who were carried into captivity into Babylon in 597 B.C. God gave Ezekiel visions that contained eternal lessons for the nation of Israel. He is remembered by most Bible students for his famous vision of a valley of dry bones which came to life. (Ezekiel 37) This was a vision of future hope for the Jewish nation. A number of the things seen in Ezekiel are again seen in the Book of Revelation. We observe the living creatures (Ezekiel 1, Revelation 4), Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38, Revelation 20), eating the scroll (Ezekiel 3, Revelation 10), the River of Living Water (Ezekiel 47, Revelation 22), and the New Jerusalem. (Ezekiel 40-48, Revelation 21) During captivity Ezekiel lived in his own house (Ezekiel 8:1) and his wife died while there. God told him not to cry about her death. “Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men. So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded.” (Ezekiel 24:17-18) Ezekiel proclaimed God's eternal truths to Israel in a simple and forthright. There are many lessons that we can learn from his teachings.
Let us learn that people are not born sinners. Many teach that children are born sinners because of the moral evils of their parent. It is often the case that children suffer for the sins of their parents but they do not in any way bear the guilt of those sins. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." (Ezekiel 18:20) Sin is something that is committed; it is not inherited. "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:4) We have the choice about whether to sin or not. People sin when they are drawn away by their own lusts and enticed. They sin when they are tempted to do wrong and they give in to the evil. This is followed by spiritual death. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:13-15) But when God says He "created us in his image, and gave us life and breath and all things," are we to understand that He created us as sinners? Never!
Let us learn that God does not force people to do right. Even though Calvinism teaches irresistible grace there is no special calling or irresistible grace that makes the sinner turn to God and do right. Irresistible grace is not a Bible doctrine; it is, however, one of the five points of Calvinism. A sincere study of the Bible proves the doctrine of irresistible grace to be false. God does not force people to do right. Man must turn from his wickedness of his own volition or by his own will. God does not force that change. God said, "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 33:11) God gives us the opportunity to turn from sin and He pleads with us to turn but we must do the turning. We must turn away from all sinful living. Let us choose to turn to the right way in order for God to be pleased with us.
Let us learn that God hates false worship; He especially hates idolatry. The one true and living God deserves and demands our true worship. "Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God." (Ezekiel 37:23) Captivity taught Israel that they must not worship idols. True worship must be directed to the one true and living God. He deserves our worship because He is God. "But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation." (Jeremiah 10:10)
Let us learn that God knows what we do and He holds us responsible for our actions. Some, by their actions, seem to think that they can hide their lives from God. The people of Ezekiel's day were saying, "Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth." (Ezekiel 8:12) They were practicing all kinds of evil and God saw it. He said, "Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them." (Ezekiel 8:18) God knows what we do also. "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." (Hebrews 4:13)
Let us learn that there are consequences for our sins. You do not get by with your sins. The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:20) You either are forgiven by the blood of Jesus or you will receive spiritual death. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) If you live and die in sin you will face horrible consequences. Judgment is one of the major topics in the Scriptures. Paul warned a group of intellectuals on Mars Hill of the coming judgment. (Acts 17:30-31) Jesus spoke of Judgment in Matthew 12:36, "But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." There are consequences for our sins. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Galatians 6:7)
Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? You can enjoy redemption in the blood of the Lamb and also forgiveness and hope because He is the Christ. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (Mark 16:16), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) After baptism remain faithful to God. (Revelation 2:10) Life on earth is always better when we have Jesus as Savior and the hereafter with Jesus will be very far better!
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA