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The End Is Come
With this chapter the prophet’s message, directed expressly against the land of Palestine, though of course including its sinful people, comes to an end. All God’s pleadings and remonstrances had proven to be in vain: the people were insistent on taking their own way. Ezekiel, as we have seen, was already among those who were in captivity. Nebuchadnezzar’s armies were once more threatening the land, and the false prophets were assuring Israel that God would intervene and save the nation. They utterly minimized the guilt of the people and declared that inasmuch as they were Jehovah’s chosen, He would intervene on their behalf. But all such prophecies were soon to be proven utterly false. The end of God’s patience had been reached, as we have seen. In wrath and indignation He was about to give them over to the power of the enemy to be destroyed by death or sold into slavery.
“Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, And thou, son of man, thus saith the Lord Jehovah unto the land of Israel: An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land. Now is the end upon thee, and I will send Mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways; and I will bring upon thee all thine abominations. And Mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity; but I will bring thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I am Jehovah”-vers. 1-4.
Note the words, “The end is come upon the four corners of the land.” There was no longer any hope. Their consciences had become utterly hardened; there was not the slightest evidence of repentance; therefore, God would judge Israel according to their ways, and recompense upon them their own abominations because they had not heeded the words of His prophets, nor turned from their idolatry. His eye would not spare, neither would He have pity upon them. It was not that His heart was hardened against them; He loved them still, but His holiness forbade His going on with them in their wickedness. When His judgments were poured out upon them they should know that it was indeed Jehovah with whom they had to do, and who had given them up to affliction and despair.
“Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: An evil, an only evil; toehold, it cometh. An end is come, the end is come; it awaketh against thee; toehold, it cometh. Thy doom is come upon thee, O inhabitant in the land: the time is come, the day is near, a day of tumult, and not of joyful shouting, upon the mountains. Now will I shortly pour out My wrath upon thee, and accomplish mine anger against thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways; and I will toring upon thee all thine abominations. And Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will toring upon thee according to thy ways; and thine abominations shall toe in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I, Jehovah, do smite”-vers. 5-9.
The people had looked for good but looked in vain. An evil, an only evil, was coming upon them. Once more the prophet repeats the word, “An end is come, the end is come.” It is a solemn thing indeed when God’s patience is exhausted and His wrath falls without restraint upon those whom He would so gladly have delivered had they but given any evidence of repentance. Even when things had been at very low ebb in the past, the slightest proof of self-judgment was sufficient to avert threatened punishment; but now the people were wholly given to iniquity. They had cast God’s law behind their backs, and even though there were, as we know, some godly ones among them, yet the state of the nation was such that these who had concern about their ways could only suffer with the rest of the people. When destruction falls, whether by natural calamity, such as earthquake, tornado, or pestilences, the righteous suffer with the wicked. It is true also when bloody warfare rages in a land. And so even the faithful remnant had to go through this time of terrible trial with the apostate part of the nation; though we see that afterwards, when Nebuchadnezzar had taken the city, provision was made for certain ones to remain in the land, and those that feared God were given opportunity to dwell quietly in the desolated region.
Instead of reading, “The morning is come unto thee,” a better translation, we are told, would be, “The turn of the wheel is come”-that is, the great wheel of the divine government is rolling on, and nothing can turn it aside. The time had come when the day of trouble, which many prophets had foretold, should actually take place. The storm nearing, they had heard the divine thunder, not merely an echo from the mountains.
Verses 8 and 9 are extremely stirring. God was about to pour out His fury upon Israel and accomplish His anger upon them. He would judge them according to their ways. There should be no pity. It was too late for mercy: judgment must take its course. And when all these dire predictions came to pass, Israel should know that He who thus dealt with them was the Lord that smiteth.
This last expression might be looked upon as a compound: Jehovah-Mekkadeschemt “Jehovah the Smiter.” Those who refuse to recognize God as Jeho-vah-Rahi (“Jehovah the Shepherd”), or as Jehovah-Jireh (“Jehovah the Provider”), will have to know Him as “Jehovah the Smiter.”
“Behold the day, behold, it cometh: thy doom is gone forth; the rod hath blossomed, pride hath budded. Violence is risen up into a rod of wickedness; none of them shall remain, nor of their multitude, nor of their wealth: neither shall there be eminency among them. The time is come, the day draweth near: let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn; for wrath is upon all the multitude thereof. For the seller shall not return to that which is sold, although they be yet alive: for the vision is touching the whole multitude thereof, none shall return; neither shall any strengthen himself in the iniquity of his life”-vers. 10-13.
There was to be no longer delay. The day of doom had already come. Israel’s cup of iniquity was full; the tree of her pride had blossomed and budded; the hour when God would deal with her because of all her manifold iniquities had arrived. The armies of the Chaldeans had swept down upon the land. Jerusalem was already besieged. Because, on the part of Israel, violence had developed into a rod of wickedness, they should be dealt with in violence. The time had arrived; the day had drawn near. It was too late for buyer to rejoice or seller to mourn: the wrath of God was already being poured out upon the multitude. Commerce would be at an end; buying and selling would no longer have any place, and the whole land was to be given up to desolation.
Graphically the prophet describes the siege of Jerusalem in the verses that follow:
“They have blown the trumpet, and have made all ready; but none goeth to the battle; for My wrath is upon all the multitude thereof. The sword is without, and the pestilence and the famine within: he that is in the field shall die with the sword; and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him. But those of them that escape shall escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them moaning, every one in his iniquity. All hands shall be feeble, and all knees shall be weak as water. They shall also gird themselves with sackcloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads. They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be as an unclean thing; their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of Jehovah: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels; because it hath been the stumblingblock of their iniquity”-vers. 14-19.
The trumpets had sounded for the defense of the city. All had been called to make ready, but none dared go forth to the battle. Everywhere outside the walls were seen the forces of the enemy. Because of the rigor of the siege, pestilence and famine prevailed within the city. Those in the field were given up to death by the sword; those in the city faced death by the conditions prevailing there. A few, indeed, might escape, but they should be like mourning doves looking down upon the ruined city. All hands should be feeble; all knees weak as water. There would be no strength whatever to enable Judah to stand against her cruel foes. Though they mourned and girded themselves with sackcloth, and horror possessed their souls, there was no hope. They had sinned until God would no longer hear their cry. Their silver and their gold which had been hoarded up could not deliver them in the day of divine wrath. All was at an end. Jerusalem was doomed; Palestine was to be given into the hand of the enemy.
“As for the beauty of his ornament, He set it in majesty; but they made the images of their abominations and their detestable things therein: therefore have I made it unto them as an unclean thing. And I will give it into the hands of the strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil; and they shall profane it. My face will I turn also from them, and they shall profane My secret place; and robbers shall enter into it, and profane it. Make the chain; for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence. Wherefore I will bring the worst of the nations, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pride of the strong to cease; and their holy places shall be profaned. Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none. Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumor shall be upon rumor; and they shall seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the elders. The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people of the land shall be troubled: I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am Jehovah”-vers. 20-27.
Even as we read these words we can feel in our souls the sadness and the hopelessness which they depict. Because of the many idolatries and the detestable things connected with them, Jehovah had set His face against His people and given their cities and their land into the hands of strangers for a prey. True, these were the wicked of the earth and possibly as vile or viler than Judah had become, but the difference was this: the Chaldeans were a heathen people who had never been in covenant relationship with God; the people of Judah had been separated to Himself. He had given them His law; He had given them His Word, but they had rebelled against Him; therefore, He would use even the most wicked of the nations to chasten them. He would set His face against them and permit the robbers to enter into the land and defile it.
The expression in verse 23, “Make a chain,” suggests the captivity into which thousands were to go, bound with chains of their own sins. They were to be delivered in material chains into the hand of the enemy. Eventually the worst of the heathen would possess that land and all its holy places be defiled.
Some have seen in verse 24 a prophecy of the possession of Palestine by the Mohammedan powers who controlled and dominated it for some twelve centuries, until Allenby’s entrance into Jerusalem, and the ousting of the Turks.
In vain should they seek peace, for they had turned away from the only One who could give peace. Therefore, mischief should come upon them; one distracting rumor after another should trouble them. In their distress they should seek a vision of the prophet, but there would be no answer. The law was to perish from the priest, and counsel from the elders. King Zedekiah, unstable, tricky, and hypocritical, should mourn; the leaders be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people be troubled. God declared, “I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them.” They should know it was Jehovah who was afflicting them when all these things were fulfilled.
There is, of course, a sense in which we may look beyond the days of Nebuchadnezzar and see in this chapter a depiction of the horrors of the great tribulation, but while this is a lawful application it is really secondary, for the actual fulfilment had to do with the siege and taking of the city by the Chaldean armies.
Let not us of the Gentiles look with contempt upon the Jews because of their forgetfulness of God and the dire results that followed. Let us remember that we also, as a people, have proved utterly unworthy of the privileges bestowed upon us; and in due time Christendom, too, will be rejected of the Lord because of its apostasy and rebellion.
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Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Ezekiel 7". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13