August 23, 2009 – August 29, 2009
“I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it [him].” Ezekiel 21:27.
Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 452–463; The Publishing Ministry, 167–178.
“The final overthrow of all earthly dominions is plainly foretold in the word of truth.” Education, 179.
1 Just as God had warned the Jews through Jeremiah, what crisis befell Jerusalem during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar? II Kings 25:1. How was this also revealed to Ezekiel? Ezekiel 21:1–7, 31.
Note: “Because Israel had been chosen to preserve the knowledge of God in the earth, they had been, from their first existence as a nation, the special objects of Satan’s enmity, and he had determined to cause their destruction. He could do them no harm while they were obedient to God; therefore he had bent all his power and cunning to enticing them into sin.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 468.
“The children of Israel were taken captive to Babylon because they separated from God, and no longer maintained the principles that had been given to keep them free from the methods and practices of the nations who dishonored God.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1040.
2 Because of Judah’s impenitence, how would they be chastised? Ezekiel 21:21–24.
Note: “This prophecy [Deuteronomy 4:26–28], fulfilled in part in the time of the judges, met a more complete and literal fulfillment in the captivity of Israel in Assyria and of Judah in Babylon.
“The apostasy of Israel had developed gradually. From generation to generation, Satan had made repeated attempts to cause the chosen nation to forget ‘the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments’ that they had promised to keep forever. Deuteronomy 6:1. He knew that if he could only lead Israel to forget God, and to ‘walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them,’ they would ‘surely perish.’ Deuteronomy 8:19.” Prophets and Kings, 296.
3 How and why did God proclaim the end of Judah as a monarchy? Ezekiel 21:25, 26. When and through whom should the throne be restored to the House of David?
Note: “To the ‘profane wicked prince’ had come the day of final reckoning. ‘Remove the diadem,’ the Lord decreed, ‘and take off the crown.’ [Ezekiel 21:25, 26.] Not until Christ Himself should set up His kingdom was Judah again to be permitted to have a king.” Prophets and Kings, 451.
“The final overthrow of all earthly dominions is plainly foretold in the word of truth.” Education, 179.
4 How did God proclaim the establishment of Christ’s kingdom? Ezekiel 21:27.
Note: “The crown removed from Israel passed successively to the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. God says, ‘It shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him.’ [Ezekiel 21:27.]
“That time is at hand. Today the signs of the times declare that we are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Everything in our world is in agitation. Before our eyes is fulfilling the Saviour’s prophecy of the events to precede His coming.” Education, 179.
5 What reasons did God list for sending His wrath upon Judah? Ezekiel 22:6–12, 31; Ezekiel 23:37–39.
Note: “Why did the Lord permit Jerusalem to be destroyed by fire the first time? Why did He permit His people to be overcome by their enemies and carried into heathen lands?—It was because they had failed to be His missionaries, and had built walls of division between themselves and the people round them. The Lord scattered them, that the knowledge of His truth might be carried to the world. If they were loyal and true and submissive, God would bring them again into their own land.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1040.
“In calling the attention of Judah to the sins that finally brought upon them the Babylonian Captivity, the Lord declared: ‘Thou hast … profaned My Sabbaths.’ ‘Therefore have I poured out Mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads.’ Ezekiel 22:8, 31.” Prophets and Kings, 182.
6 Of what were the priests especially guilty in Ezekiel’s day? Ezekiel 22:26. What similar warnings echo down to us today?
Note: “Can we then be surprised to hear of ministers falling under temptation and sin, disgracing the cause they were professedly advocating? Can we wonder that there are apostasies when men who urge conversion upon others are not themselves converted?” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 184.
“Some have so long sacrificed principle that they cannot see the difference between the sacred and the common. Those who refuse to give heed to the Lord’s instruction will go steadily downward in the path of ruin. The day of test and trial is just before us. Let every man put on his true colors. Do you choose loyalty or rebellion? Show your colors to men and angels. We are safe only when we are committed to the right. Then the world knows where we shall be found in the day of trial and trouble.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 96.
7 What lesson did the Lord want to teach Judah, and especially Jerusalem, through the parable of the boiling pot? Ezekiel 24:3–14.
Note: “While Jeremiah continued to bear his testimony in the land of Judah, the prophet Ezekiel was raised up from among the captives in Babylon, to warn and to comfort the exiles, and also to confirm the word of the Lord that was being spoken through Jeremiah. During the years that remained of Zedekiah’s reign, Ezekiel made very plain the folly of trusting to the false predictions of those who were causing the captives to hope for an early return to Jerusalem. He was also instructed to foretell, by means of a variety of symbols and solemn messages, the siege and utter destruction of Jerusalem.” Prophets and Kings, 448.
8 What trying experience tested Ezekiel’s faith? Ezekiel 24:15–18. What prophecy did the death of Ezekiel’s wife contain for the rebellious nation? Ezekiel 24:19–24.
Note: “The Hebrew armies were beaten back in confusion. The nation was conquered. Zedekiah was taken prisoner, and his sons were slain before his eyes. The king was led away from Jerusalem a captive, his eyes were put out, and after arriving in Babylon he perished miserably. The beautiful temple that for more than four centuries had crowned the summit of Mount Zion was not spared by the Chaldeans. ‘They burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.’ 11 Chronicles 36:19.
“At the time of the final overthrow of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, many had escaped the horrors of the long siege, only to perish by the sword. Of those who still remained, some, notably the chief of the priests and officers, and the princes of the realm, were taken to Babylon and there executed as traitors.” Prophets and Kings, 458–460.
9 What reasons did God give for punishing the Ammonites? Ezekiel 25:1–3, 7.
Note: “God keeps a reckoning with nations, as well as with individuals. He allows to nations a certain period of probation, and gives them evidences of his requirements, of his supremacy, and makes known to them his laws which are to be the rule of his kingdom in the government of nations. All this he does that heathen nations may not be given up to destruction unwarned and without light; but after he has given them evidence and light, and they still persist in insolence toward him, then, when iniquity is full … God takes the matter in hand, and his judgments are not longer withheld.” The Youth’s Instructor, February 1, 1894.
10 What punishment was God about to send upon Tyre? Why was this punishment necessary? Ezekiel 26:7, 8.
Note: “To every nation and to every individual God has assigned a place in His great plan. Today men and nations are being tested by the plummet in the hand of Him who makes no mistake. All are by their own choice deciding their destiny, and God is overruling all for the accomplishment of His purposes.
“The prophecies which the great I AM has given in His word, uniting link after link in the chain of events, from eternity in the past to eternity in the future, tell us where we are today in the procession of the ages and what may be expected in the time to come. All that prophecy has foretold as coming to pass, until the present time, has been traced on the pages of history, and we may be assured that all which is yet to come will be fulfilled in its order.” Prophets and Kings, 536.
“The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they recognize that something great and decisive is about to take place—that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis.” Ibid., 537.
“The crime that brought the judgments of God upon Israel was that of licentiousness. The forwardness of women to entrap souls did not end at Baal-peor. Notwithstanding the punishment that followed the sinners in Israel, the same crime was repeated many times. Satan was most active in seeking to make Israel’s overthrow complete. Balak by the advice of Balaam laid the snare. Israel would have bravely met their enemies in battle, and resisted them, and come off conquerors; but when women invited their attention and sought their company and beguiled them by their charms, they did not resist temptations. They were invited to idolatrous feasts, and their indulgence in wine further beclouded their dazed minds. The power of self-control, their allegiance to God’s law, was not preserved. Their senses were so beclouded with wine, and their unholy passions had such full sway, overpowering every barrier, that they invited temptation even to the attending of these idolatrous feasts. Those who had never flinched in battle, who were brave men, did not barricade their souls to resist temptation to indulge their basest passions. … They first defiled their conscience by lewdness, and then departed from God still farther by idolatry, thus showing contempt for the God of Israel.
“Near the close of this earth’s history Satan will work with all his powers in the same manner and with the same temptations wherewith he tempted ancient Israel just before their entering the land of promise. He will lay snares for those who claim to keep the commandments of God, and who are almost on the borders of the heavenly Canaan. He will use his powers to their utmost in order to entrap souls, and to take God’s professed people upon their weakest points. …
“It is now the duty of God’s commandment-keeping people to watch and pray, to search the Scriptures diligently, to hide the word of God in the heart, lest they sin against Him in idolatrous thoughts and debasing practices, and thus the church of God become demoralized.” Conflict and Courage, 115.
“The sinner views the spirituality of the law of God and its eternal obligations. He sees the love of God in providing a substitute and surety for guilty man, and that substitute is One equal with God. This display of grace in the gift of salvation to the world fills the sinner with amazement. This love of God to man breaks every barrier down. He comes to the cross, which has been placed midway between divinity and humanity, and repents of his sins of transgression, because Christ has been drawing him to Himself. He does not expect the law to cleanse him from sin, for there is no pardoning quality in the law to save the transgressors of the law. He looks to the atoning Sacrifice as his only hope, through repentance toward God—because the laws of His government have been broken—and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ as the One who can save and cleanse the sinner from every transgression.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 194.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.