Ezekiel made many personal sacrifices, both of himself and his family, to try and get his people back in alignment with God’s plans for them. He used many visuals. The false prophets had given the people a visual of meat in a pot, stating they were protected from harm because they were inside the pot. Ezekiel now uses this same visual to show how that was not the case. Yes, they were the meat in the pot, but in Ezekiel’s visual, the fire boiled out all the water, consumed the flesh in the pot, and even charred the bones which remained. The same day, Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem (Ek 24:3-9). This should have validated all that Ezekiel had told them – should have.
Ezekiel’s wife suddenly dies, and God tells him he is not allowed to mourn with the usual mourning customs in order to demonstrate to his people that their joy, their temple, was taken away from them and they would not be able to grieve outwardly either because of God’s judgment on them (Ek 24:17-18). Ezekiel was then struck dumb. He was unable to talk until an escapee from Jerusalem came and told them all that had happened to the city and the temple. Since the siege of Jerusalem lasted for almost two years, this is likely the length of time Ezekiel was unable to speak. God was using Ezekiel’s life as a sign to his people. God was serious and would do anything to get them to turn back to him.
Once Ezekiel got his voice back, he began to speak against nations that surrounded Israel: Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, Sidon, and Egypt. All these nations, or cities, had gloated and rejoiced when Jerusalem fell. Some were even distant relatives of Israel. Ammon and Moab were descendants of Lot who was Abraham’s nephew (Gn 19:33-28). Edom (Gn 36:1) was the brother of Jacob (whose name was later changed to Israel). Egypt was the country from which the Israelites came and occupied Canaan to form the nation of Israel and had been an enemy against Israel almost the entire time of its existence. Both Ammon and Moab would also be conquered and would not recover (Ek 25). God had stated that Israelites were not to mistreat an Edomite (Dt 23:7) because they were so closely related. Yet, Edom mistreated Israel. Edom would also be conquered by Nebuchadnezzar but would recover. In later years, it became known as Idumea and was the country from which King Herod who tried to kill the infant Jesus came. All three of these countries are now part of modern day Jordan.
Philistines were Canaanites who God had told Israel to eliminate when Israel had first come into Canaan, but there were not annihilated and became a thorn to the Israelites. This was also the land from which Goliath came during the time of David. These people often sought revenge upon Israel (Ek 25:15). Ezekiel announced destruction upon the Kerethites, those strong bowmen who were the strength of Philistia, and who had escaped the destruction put upon them by Saul (1Sa 30:13), David (2Sa 8:18), Hezekiah (2Ki 18:8), and Psammetichus king of Egypt, who often made raids into Philistia (this was the son of Necho who encouraged Zedekiah to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar but then did not support him).
Tyre had friendly relations with Israel during the time of David and Solomon (1Ki 5:1; 2Ch 2:11). Apparently, these positive relations deteriorated once the nation of Israel split. Tyre rejoiced in the destruction of Jerusalem (Ek 26:2), so God would now allow Babylon to destroy the city. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city on the coast. Alexander the Great, 260 years later, destroyed the island city by using debris of the mainland city to build a causeway to island. He used this causeway to bring his military might against the island city and destroyed it in 330 B.C. The destruction of Tyre caused the economy of many other cities to fail (Ek 27).
The ruler of Tyre was Ethbaal III who had so much pride he declared himself a god (Ek 28:2). He had a throne on the island city high on a mountain. Ezekiel then speaks to the one behind Ethbaal’s actions: Satan himself. Ezekiel tells him he had been in Eden, had been adorned with precious stones, had musical abilities, had been specially created for a special position with God to walk up and down in the middle of the stone of fire, and had been perfect before sin destroyed his relationship with God. Apparently, Satan had always wanted to dwell on high as Christ will one day and had used Ethbaal’s prominent palace to try and achieve that. God pronounced his destruction because of his sin of pride and vanity (Ek 28:16-17).
When Ezekiel turned to Sidon, he stated the city would be brought down through pestilence and war (Ek 28:23). Sidon was to originally be the northern part of the tribe of Asher; yet, they never conquered this part of Canaan. Jezebel, who became the wife of king Ahaz and helped corrupt him, came from here. This demonstrates that we never know the consequences of our inaction. It is always best to follow God’s promptings.
Ezekiel prophesied against Egypt over a two-year period (Ek 29-32). Pharaoh was filled with pride and identified himself with the crocodile god Sebek (Ek 29:3). Ezekiel stated Egypt would be humbled for 40 years, beginning with the invasion by Nebuchadnezzar (Ek 29:11).Egypt would recover, but never to prominence: Nebuchadnezzar defeated King Hophra of Egypt, Ahmose II became a vassal king to Babylon, 40 years later the Persians overtook Babylon, Egypt came back into prominence periodically but never as an independent nation (they were dependent upon Greece, then Rome, and later became as Islamic state), today the country is an Arab nation and the original Egyptians are not of prominence.
Ezekiel prophesied about Israel’s future. He stated Israel would no longer have malicious neighbors (Ek 28:25) and the people of Israel would be gathered from the nations where they had been scattered, and they would prosper. This prophesy goes beyond their historical return from Babylon years later (by the decree of the Media-Persian king Cyrus who conquered Babylon) to the Millennial Kingdom that will be set up by their coming Messiah.
The kingdom of Parthia likely had Semetic roots and its people became scattered throughout Europe when the Medes conquered Parthia. In the future, many will likely not even know they are of Israeli descent. This will be the miracle which God will bring about – more profound than the nation coming out of Egypt (Jr 23:7). This will be the celebration of Passover in the Millennium.
When these Parthians of Israeli tribal descents settled into Europe (and beyond), they were not necessarily of pure Israeli descent. Yet, they likely influenced these areas where they settled with their characteristics. They integrated with the people already living there. The longer time passed, the more integrated they became with the people of these areas. This is why this will be such a miracle by God. Those who don’t even know they are Israeli will be driven back to their homeland in Israel by the persecution of the coming Antichrist. Israel will be the only place where they can live with any hope of safety.
Isn’t it amazing how God’s plans always come about no matter the seemingly impossibility? That’s why we can rest in him. What he states is truth and will always be truth. Aligning with him is likely the best thing we can ever do. We will never regret it.
Millennium or Promised Kingdom – Its Beginning
Period of Great Tribulation