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Flight EZE01 - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
March 29, 2021 2:00 am

Flight EZE01 - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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March 29, 2021 2:00 am

Some of the prophecies in the Old Testament are just plain weird. But from them, we can learn important lessons. Join Skip as he shares interesting insight about Ezekiel's prophecies.

This teaching is from the series The Bible From 30,000 Feet - 2018.

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Let me remind you that faith comes by hearing.

It still is the case today. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. If you're a preacher, be good enough to use words to paint pictures in people's minds.

And it will sink down. Every prophet of God did that. This guy and Jeremiah are the exceptions, but that simply points to the kind of recalcitrant parts, hardened parts, that they were dealing with. The Lord sent prophets to the nation of Israel to warn, encourage, and guide His people. And today on Connect with Skip Hitek, Skip shares important insight with you as he explores the incredible visions of the prophet Ezekiel. But before we begin, here's a great resource that will give you fresh insight on what Jesus' resurrection means for you. The aftermath of 2020 has left so many of us wrestling with questions about the future and wondering, what's next?

Here's Skip Hitek. That's a question, by the way, that people ask anytime there is a catastrophe. Any kind of catastrophic event causes people to ask the question, what's next? If there's a car accident that happens, well, what's next? Am I going to be able to walk after this? If a disease strikes someone, what's next? Am I going to be cured? If somebody we love dies, we ask, what's next? Am I going to be able to go on? We want to help you live with confidence, no matter what the future holds, by sending you a powerful collection of Easter weekend messages from Skip Hitek on the hope of the resurrection.

Anything's possible. If the one who said he's going to die and rise again died and rose again, that means all of the promises Jesus ever made are possible and can come true. That's why it's called The Living Hope. The Morning That Changed Everything with Skip Hitek is a DVD collection of six life-changing Easter messages. And it's our thanks for your gift of $35 or more today to help connect more people to the living hope of Jesus Christ.

To give online securely, visit connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Okay, we're in the book of Ezekiel today as we get into the teaching with Skip Hitek. Over in the European area, there is a section of land known as the UK, the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is a conglomeration of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. They have been in that configuration called the United Kingdom for 218 years. So when we say the UK, the United Kingdom, that's what most people on earth today think of. From a biblical perspective, however, the term United Kingdom refers to something vastly different as by now you know.

You know that it refers to the 12 tribes of Israel when they were united as a kingdom under the rulership of King Saul, King David, and King Solomon. That was the United Kingdom. That kingdom only lasted 110 years. And then that United Kingdom split into two sections, the north being called the country of? The north being called the country of? Israel. The southern kingdom being called?

Judah. Israel after that kingdom split. Remember how the kingdom split? Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, tried to levy more taxes. Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, took the 10 tribes and said we're out of here, hasta la vista baby.

He didn't actually say that, but in so many words he did. So the kingdom split. The northern kingdom continued as a viable divided kingdom for 210 years. Then they were taken captive in 722 BC by the Assyrians, as you know. And then the southern kingdom remained coalesced for another 135 years and they went into Babylonian captivity in 586 BC, as you know. We find ourselves dealing with that last portion of information.

The kingdom, now long divided, that southern kingdom going into the Babylonian captivity, and we gave you the three dates last week 605, 597, and 586, where the Babylonians came against the city and then finally destroyed it. We are dealing with the prophet of Ezekiel at this particular period of time. Now I went into the ministry primarily because I had certain role models that who in the ministry made the ministry to me very attractive. I thought, oh I'd love to do that. If the prophets Jeremiah and or Ezekiel would have been my role models, I probably wouldn't have gone into the ministry. I would have severe second thoughts.

I'd say no thanks. Ezekiel, like Jeremiah, was also a priest, but was unable to serve as a priest. Do you know why?

Do you know why? Because right when he was about to serve as a priest, the Babylonians took him captive and brought him to Babylon. So though he was trained for the priesthood and should have served as a priest, he went into captivity in Babylon 11 years before the city was destroyed in 586. So I mentioned there were three dates, three deportations, and the final one was a destruction. In 605, I mentioned a young man was taken captive to Babylon. His name was Daniel.

In 597 BC, that second attack and deportation took place. At that time Ezekiel went into captivity before he could serve in the priesthood, and then years later the temple was destroyed. What that means is the prophet Ezekiel had two well-known contemporaries, Jeremiah and Daniel. Jeremiah older than Ezekiel, living in Egypt at the time. Daniel, however, has been in Babylon before Ezekiel got there and by this time already occupied no doubt a prominent position in the court of Nebuchadnezzar after interpreting dreams and was made the captain of the Magi, the wise men of Babylon, by this time.

So sort of an interesting overlapping of ministries going on here. Ezekiel, if you've read the book, if you're familiar, was a very visual prophet. And I mean that twofold. He saw things, he saw visions, he saw the plan of God unfolded, in a sense, the glory of God unfolded before him, certainly in chapters one and in chapter 10, this wild vision. But he also used visuals to get people's attention. Lying on one side, lying on another side publicly, I mean out in the public for hours, for days, for hours, for days, for days, for months.

And then shaving his head and shaving his beard in public, hiding in a cave, not showing emotion when his wife died. A number of crazy visual examples and here's why. God's people were not listening to God's word. So to get their attention, they used, he used, a way to get their attention. Because when the, when, when the prophet came and said, thus says the Lord, there was an automatic turn off.

And so he steps it up a notch or two by giving very graphic visuals. In our day, preaching in pulpits, especially among those who are young, seems to be a trend to try to get people's attention by bringing graphic illustrations into the pulpit and doing all sorts of things, sitting on beds, standing on chairs, riding bicycles in and around things. And all I can say is, okay, but that's an indictment that you're dealing with a crowd of people that cannot or will not listen to God's word. And let me remind you that faith comes by hearing.

It still is the case today. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. If you're a preacher, be good enough to use words to paint pictures in people's minds and it will sink down. Every prophet of God did that.

This guy and Jeremiah are the exceptions, but that simply points to the kind of recalcitrant hearts, hardened hearts that they were dealing with. Now, the outline of the book of Ezekiel is very logical. In fact, it is the most logical of all of the prophetic outlines or of the books of the prophets. The first section is personal, chapters one through three. The second section is national, chapters four through twenty-four. The third section is international, chapters twenty-five through thirty-two. And the final fourth section is eventual, but a better description would be eschatological, dealing with end of times, eschatology, the end of days, and the glory of God. So, because he uses so many pictures, I've sort of divided the book up like a picture frame, four sides.

And I'll be more specific now. Chapters one through three deal with the commission of the prophet. Ezekiel is called by God. God's hand is on Ezekiel. God speaks to Ezekiel. That's his commission, commission of the prophet. The second section is the national, where God is dealing with the nation of Judah for her sin and the reasons for her sin and what's going to happen eventually, and that is the destruction of the temple.

Remember, when Ezekiel preached, he was a captive in Babylon, but the temple was still standing for a few more years, but he predicted its demise. So, commission of the prophet, correction of the people. Third section is the national, where God is dealing with the nation of the prophet, correction of the people.

Third section, castigation of the people's plural. Now we're dealing internationally with other nations around the country of Judah. And then finally, conciliation of God's purposes. That's the last section, chapters 33 to 48. That is where Israel, God sees it, the prophet predicts it, being restored, regathered in their land. In Ezekiel chapter one, verse one, we begin. And again, this is a 30,000 foot view.

We are flying over, making notes on a few areas, looking down out of the airplane and a few different texts and then zooming ahead. Chapter one, verse one, now it came to pass in the 30th year, mark that, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, I was among the captives by the Kibar River, that the heavens were opened and I saw the visions of God. Now, when it says the 30th year, notice it doesn't say the 30th year of Jehoiachin or the 30th year of Nebuchadnezzar.

It just says the 30th year. So because of that, we believe we're dealing on a personal level with the prophet's age. That Ezekiel, when he gets this vision as a young captive in that second deportation, he's now in Babylon, he is 30 years old when this happens. Why is that significant? Because in the priesthood, you begin your service when you turn 30 years of age, which means he had his birthday in Babylon, which means he trained for the priesthood, but he never was able to serve in that temple that he longed to serve in.

Why is that significant? Because of all the prophets, Ezekiel will be given a detailed description of another temple that has never yet been built but will be built, not in the tribulation period, but in the millennial kingdom. Very detailed description.

He gets to see it in vision form. So it says that, I was among the captives, verse one, by the river Kibar or Kibar. A better way of looking at this is the canal Kibar. There were two rivers, as you know, in that area of the world, the Tigris River and the Euphrates River. Those were the two huge rivers that watered the land.

The people diverted that water into canals for irrigation. Ezekiel was with a group of captives who were camped out by that canal, the river Kibar. And it says, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. Now he'll see very graphic visualizations of the glory of God. So this is a vision from God. This is not a late night pizza vision.

This is not a spicy falafel dream. This is something that God this is something that God gives to him. This priest who is no doubt very discouraged for a couple of reasons. Number one, he's a refugee. He's a captive.

Number two, he never got to serve as a priest in Jerusalem. It would be sort of like, you're 15 years of age, your 16th birthday is tomorrow. You've gone through driver's ed. You go to the DMV, you think tomorrow to get your license. But then on the eve of your birthday, the government changes the law so that you have to be 18 years of age to get a driver's license, which by the way, I'm four.

But imagine how your heart would sink the day you turned 16, but never got to see your dream realized. Now that's where they are and I can't resist but reading to you a few verses from a psalm that will now make sense. Psalm 137. You should always keep that in mind whenever you read Ezekiel. By the rivers of Babylon there we sat down, yea we wept when we remembered Zion.

We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked us a song and those who plundered requested mirth saying, sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill.

If I do not remember you, let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth. If I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy. That's a psalm written in retrospect of those who are in Ezekiel's position feeling what he feels, not wanting to have mirth and joy even though the Babylonians sing us one of those Jewish songs. And they were saying, how can we sing the Lord's song in such a condition? Well that's where he is. Verse 5. Let's Skip down there and move ahead. Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures.

It's getting better. And this was their appearance. They had the likeness of a man. That's the general appearance. Humanoid appearance. Each one had four faces.

That's where it departs from the look of the human because you and I have one. This creature, these had four faces and each one had four faces. It had four wings. Their legs were straight. The sole of their feet were like the soles of calves' feet.

Holy cow. And they sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. The hands of a man were under their wings.

Weird, huh? Little hands under their wings. On their four sides and each of the four had faces and wings.

Now we know what these are. If we've read chapter 10 as well as chapter 1, in chapter 10, this same vision, these creatures are called cherubim. That's a Hebrew word.

I am is the male Hebrew plural. So a singular being is a cherub or an angelic being. More than one is cherubim or cherubim, many angels.

We know about cherubim. A couple of them appeared outside the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis guarding the entrance. There were a couple of cherubim whose wings touched on top of the Ark of the Covenant as a symbol of God's presence. They were in the veil embroidered beautifully in the tabernacle and the temple. Cherubim seems to be angels who guard the presence of God.

And they're always seen as a symbol of the presence of God. Verse 9, their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward. So you get as you read this the idea that when they wanted to go one direction or the other, the mind or the spirit just said, you know what? I'm going to find the spirit just to go right and like that without having to turn. They didn't have wheel wells or tie rods or steering wheels to bend it. It just it moved in that direction.

So they went straight forward. Now the Hebrew term for this vision, and you see it's a vision of the glory of God, of the throne of God, is called the Merkaba. Some of you are familiar with the Merkaba or the Merkaba. It is the chariot, the divine chariot, the throne car of God. I bring it up merely to state if you ever delve into Talmudic interpretations, especially the mystical writings or a really weird subset of Judaism called the Kabbalah, Kabbalistic Judaism. It's very mystical and it's all centered around what this is. It's all about this vision in Ezekiel chapter 1 and 10, and there's weird interpretations.

No need, no desire to even get into it just to touch on it. Verse 10, as for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man, each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each had the of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, each of the four had the face of an eagle. Now he's got our attention. Now it's sounding more familiar, but let's read on. Thus were their faces, their wings stretched upward, two wings of each one touched one another, and the two covered their bodies. And each one went straight forward, they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.

Okay, pause. Think back to our study in the encampment of the children of Israel in the wilderness. In the wilderness there was the center of the camp, the tabernacle, and on all four sides the 12 tribes of Israel were divided into four main camps, three tribes on the south, north, east, and west. And those three tribes on each side were under the banner of a single tribe. So on one side they were under the banner of the tribe of Judah, whose insignia happened to be a lion. On another side they were under the banner of the tribe of Ifrim, whose banner happened to be an ox. On the other side they were under the banner of the tribe of Reuben, whose banner happened to be a man.

And on the final side they were under the banner of Dan, they were under the banner of Dan, whose banner happened to be an eagle. Fascinating so far, right? All of that gives to us at least an indication that, hmm, maybe there's something to this. Is there more?

Yes, there is. It seems that what we saw in the tabernacle, representing here by these cherubim, is a picture of the throne of God. And the tabernacle was a model, crude, albeit, but a model of the throne of God.

Because when we fast forward to the book of Revelation, we also have these four living creatures and the throne of God depicted in the book of Revelation. But what's beautiful is looking at the four gospels alongside all of that. Four gospels, not three, not five, four. The gospel of Matthew is the gospel of the kingdom. The kingdom is referred to more than any other book.

That's the lion. Then we have the gospel of Mark. The word immediately pops up a lot in that book and we see Jesus moving from place to place rapidly, like a servant would.

And the animal of servitude was the ox. Then we come to the gospel of Luke, written by a Gentile doctor, especially with the Greeks in mind who idealized humanity and they were looking for the ideal man. And so the term son of man is used frequently by Luke. And then the most majestic, I believe, of all the gospels, soaring above the other, is the gospel of John, who depicts Jesus as God the Son, God in human flesh, the divine, the deity of Christ.

And the end of that book says that you might believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. So again, I believe depicted in the gospels, seen in the tabernacle and in the book of Revelation and seen here in this vision form, the presence of God, the full orb glory of God in these creatures. That's Skip Hyten with a message for you from the series, The Bible from 30,000 Feet. Right now, here's Skip to tell you how your support helps keep these messages coming your way and connects more people to God's Word. No matter what happens in your life or where God takes you, He's always in control.

His Word assures us of this truth time and time again. Here at Connect with Skip, we want friends like you to hold fast to the encouraging truths of the Bible and then share those truths with others. One way you can do that today is by prayerfully partnering in this work to keep these teachings coming to you and others. Here's how you can give today. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give your gift today. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

Again, that's 800-922-1888. Coming up tomorrow, Skip Hysek shares a vital lesson about living by and sharing God's truth. There's a principle here. Anyone who speaks for God effectively must first internalize the truth of God for themselves. The preacher must preach first to the preacher and then to everybody else. Make a connection Make a connection at the foot of the crossing Cast all the burdens on his word Make a connection Connection Connect with Skip Hytet is a presentation of Connection Communications connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-10 09:06:39 / 2023-12-10 09:16:11 / 10

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