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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Ezekiel 21

Verses 1-32

Ezekiel 21:9-10

The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity too great for the eye of reason.

Blake.

Reference. XXI. 9, 10. R. A. Suckling, Sermons Plain and Practical, p. 215.

Ezekiel 21:26-27

After quoting these words, John Owen adds: 'One dissolution shall come upon the neck of another, until it all issue in Jesus Christ. "I will overturn it," saith God. "But men will set it up again." "I will overturn it again," saith God, "perfectly overturn it." All men's endeavours shall but turn things from one destructive issue to another, till "all issue in one whose right it is ".'

Cromwell used this verse in his second speech to the First Parliament in 1654. 'Whilst these things were in the midst of us; and whilst the nation was rent and torn in spirit and principle from one end to the other, after this sort and manner I have now told you; family against family, husband against; wife, parents against children; and nothing in the hearts and minds of men but "overturn, overturn, overturn!" (a Scripture phrase very much abused, and applied to justify unpeaceable practices by all men of discontented spirits) the common enemy sleeps not'.

Easy Work

Ezekiel 21:31

I. Nothing is so easy as to destroy. This is a truth which is often forgotten. A man is not a genius simply because he can destroy something.

1. We are entranced and fascinated by men who have immense destructive power. This is peculiarly easy work, this work of destruction in religious subjects and religious spheres. Let me tell you why. The heart wants to get rid of God. The enemy has an infinite advantage in the preparedness of the heart.

2. The very greatness of religion is a temptation towards denial. It makes denial easy, invites destructive criticism: there is so much of it; it begins with the unbeginning; it endures to the endless end; it takes a higher range than the high firmament. Nothing is so easy as contradiction. A child can contradict a father.

II. We must be a little clearer and plainer about this genius of contradiction, and this skill of destructiveness. Suppose I say, 'You have no mind; now prove the contrary, where is your mind?' You never thought of that. 'Have you ever seen it?' Never. 'Touched it?' No. 'Where do you keep it?' You don't know. You see the preacher can contradict as well as the critic and the hearer. Do not suppose that all the intellectual vigour and mental freshness and mighty transcendental genius is on the side of contradiction; it is on the side of constructiveness, elevation, moral fruition; it is on the side of practical, beneficent holiness.

III. There is no mystery in religion that has not its counterpart in human nature. The mischief is that so many people imagine that mystery begins with the Bible. If you close the Bible you will have greater mystery without it than you have with it; you would be a greater mystery to yourself. What little knowledge you have of yourself you owe directly or indirectly to such influences as constitute the Bible. It is because man is made in God's image that he represents a thousand religious mysteries, that he is often a supreme mystery to himself.

IV. Christianity has a destructive mission as well as infidelity. Christianity wields tremendous weapons. Christianity does not come to destroy the sinner, but sin. Nothing would be so easy as to destroy the sinner, but that would have no effect upon the sin; the spirit of sin would still be the unconquered spirit of the universe. Jesus Christ therefore undertakes this work to bear away the sin of the world; not to crush the sinner, but to bear away, away a word without an end the sin of the world.

J. Parker, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, p. 42.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Ezekiel 21". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/ezekiel-21.html. 1910.