For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2003 James Melough

7:1.  “Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,”


7:2.  “Also, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord God unto the land of Israel; An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land.”


This was God’s announcement that His patience had come to an end. Israel was about to receive the just recompense of her evil doings; nor would any part escape.  As her wickedness had polluted the whole land, so would Divine judgment also reach into every corner. 


In connection with the judgment’s extending into the “four corners of the land,” it is to be remembered that four is the biblical number of testing.  Like Belshazzar, Israel had been placed in God’s balances, and had been found wanting, and like him, would also be destroyed, as will be every sinner who hasn’t accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior.


7:3.  “Now is the end come upon thee, and I will send mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways, and wilt recompense upon thee all thine abominations.”


The repetition of the warning that Israel’s end had come continues to emphasize that her day of grace had ended.  Her refusal to repent within the time when that repentance would have saved her, sealed instead her doom.


The justice of the judgment is declared in that it would be according to her wicked ways.  As she had filled her cup of wickedness to overflowing, so would she also be compelled to drink a corresponding cup of judgment, “abominations” being also translated filthy practices: detestable doings.


7:4.  “And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.”


Though God is of great mercy, as is evidenced by Calvary, He will not extend that mercy for ever.  There comes a time in the life of every man when his failure to accept Christ as his Savior, carries him across the invisible fatal line that separates God’s mercy from His wrath, and that step is irrevocable!  There is no possibility of retracing it, as it is written, “My spirit shall not always strive with man,” Ge 6:3; “He, who being often reproved hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy,” Pr 29:1.


“... and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee,” is generally taken to mean that judgment would overtake them right in the midst of their wicked activity.  They would, as it were, be overtaken in the very act of sinning.  And it continues to be emphasized that the knowledge they had refused to acquire by repentant obedience, they would learn, too late, by bitter experience: God is a God of absolute justice Who must punish sin.


7:5.  “Thus saith the Lord God; An evil, an only evil, behold, is come.”


The latter part of this verse is also translated, disaster after disaster: disasters one upon another: woe upon woe.  In the past there had been the possibility of pardon in response to repentance, but that time of grace was gone for ever for that unrepentant generation, as it will be for every man who fails to accept Christ as Savior within God’s allotted time of grace and mercy.  Now there remained only the terrible assurance that as their wickedness and been without end, so also would their punishment be - and not just for the years of time, but throughout eternity.


Some understand “an only evil” to mean that the coming judgment would be worse than any that had ever been.


7:6.  “An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come.”


The terrible finality of their doom is declared in the words “an end,” and “the end.”  It wasn’t just that their wickedness was about to end, but that they themselves were also to be destroyed.


“... it watcheth for thee” is also translated, it awakest against thee.   The night of sin was about to be followed, as it were, by

the fearful day of judgment.  That day, in fact, had dawned.


7:7.  “The morning is come unto thee, O thou that dwellest in the land: the time is come, the day of trouble is near, and not the sounding again of the mountains.”


The day of judgment and doom was dawning for all the inhabitants

of the land - a day of tumult and panic.  There would be no more joyful shouting on the hills where they had worshiped their false gods, nor would there be any of the licentious revelry that normally accompanied that idolatry.


7:8.  “Now will I shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations.”


“Shortly” means “soon,” so that the warning was of judgment impending when God would pour out His righteous wrath on their guilty heads, and in doing so accomplish, i.e., exhaust, or use up His justified anger, the measure of punishment being in exact proportion to the extent of their abominations, i.e., their filthy practices and detestable doings.


7:9.  “And mine eyes shall not spare, neither will I have pity; I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the Lord that smiteth.”


As He looked upon them He couldn’t see one that He would be able to spare or even pity.  The outpouring of His fiercest wrath would be proportionate to their wickedness; and the One they might have known as the God of love and mercy, had they repented in time, they would instead know by His judgments as the terrible Holy One Who “is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and (who) canst not look on iniquity,” Hab 1:13, “and that will by no means clear the guilty,” Ex 34:7.


7:10.  “Behold the day, behold it is come: the morning is gone forth; the rod hath blossomed, pride hath budded.”


The morning of their day of judgment had dawned: Divine retribution was about to overtake them because their pride, insolence, and general wickedness had reached full bloom and would be tolerated no longer.


7:11.  “Violence is risen up into a rod of wickedness: none of them shall remain, nor of their multitude, nor of any of theirs: neither shall there be wailing for them.”


Wickedness, as it does always, had become the parent of violence, as is demonstrated by the present state of the world, which, like Israel, has filled its cup of wickedness to overflowing, and, also like Israel, is about to be destroyed by God’s judgment, that destruction coming in the impending Great Tribulation.


Not one of them would be spared, except of course, some of the small believing remnant within the apostate majority, hence the absence of wailing at their demise.  And so will it be with this present evil world.  The Great Tribulation will end with Christ’s returning to end it and execute the judgment that will conclude with the banishment into hell of every unbeliever on the face of the earth, in preparation for the inauguration of the Millennium, nor will any weep at the destruction of the banished wicked.


7:12.  “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.”


The imminence of the judgment continues to be emphasized, and is accompanied by the warning that buyers shouldn’t rejoice at the increase of their possessions, nor sellers at the diminution of theirs, because God’s judgment was about to sweep all of them away.


“...multitude” is associated here with the idea of noise and frenzy, and only spiritually blind eyes will fail to see in this the foreshadowing of the condition of today’s world.  We live in the midst of a continual cacophony, not only of traffic, machinery, and music so-called, but where even the most trivial statement or occurrence evokes an exaggerated response expressed in extravagant speech and body movement.


7:13.  “For the seller shall not return to that which is sold, although they were yet alive: for the vision is touching the whole multitude thereof, which shall not return: neither shall any strengthen himself in the iniquity of his life.”


The first part of this verse is understood by some to mean that the imminence of the impending judgment precluded the possibility of seller and buyer having a change of heart, and re-negotiating a business transaction.  It was too late for Israel to have a change of heart.  Having refused to repent in God’s time, she must now perish. 


Many, however, believe that the reference is to the law which mandated the return of the land to its original owner in the year of jubilee; but there would be no opportunity for the operation of that law, for buyer and seller alike would be captives in Babylon.


The second part of the sentence “... the vision is touching the whole multitude, etc.,” means that the prophecy of impending judgment applied to the whole nation, nor was their any hope of reprieve.  And the final part, “... neither shall any strengthen himself, etc.,” means that because of their wickedness it would be impossible for anyone to save his life.


All of this is but the foreshadowing of what awaits apostate Christendom.  She too is doomed without hope of reprieve.


7:14.  “They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.”


They might sound the trumpet to assemble the fighting men to go forth to war, but none would respond, the devastation having reduced them to terror-stricken weakness.  God was about to destroy them all because of their wickedness.  And again this foreshadows what will be at the end of the Great Tribulation, for in Re 19:11-21 we read of a similar assemblage of armies gathered for battle, but they never fight, for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself destroys them, and for the same reason: their great wickedness.


7:15.  “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.”


Those in the open country would be slain by the Babylonians, and those taking refuge in the city would die of hunger and disease in the siege, all of this continuing to foreshadow what will be in the Great Tribulation, as we read in Re 6.


7:16.  “But they that escape of them shall escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity.”


The few who might escape and seek to hide in the mountains would be like mourning doves, for they would bewail the terrible judgments brought upon them because of their great wickedness.


7:17.  “All hands shall be feeble, and all knees shall be weak as water.”


They would be utterly powerless under God’s judgments.


“... knees shall be weak as water,” is rendered by some translators as, “their knees shall run with urine,” so great would be their terror.


7:18.  “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 would put on sackcloth, and shudder from head to foot, terror-stricken, ashamed, and with their heads shaved; but their repentance would come too late to save them.  The scene will be re-enacted in the Great Tribulation.


7:19.  “They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumbling block of their iniquity.”


In the day of judgment in the siege of Jerusalem they would discover the worthlessness of their silver and gold: all the money in the world couldn’t buy bread in the famine-stricken city.  In the Great Tribulation the same discovery will be made by those also about to perish under God’s judgment. 


It is to be remembered, however, that silver is the biblical emblem of redemption; and gold, of glory, so that the additional truth being declared here symbolically is that multitudes will discover, too late, that church membership, morality, good works, etc., which many equate with salvation, are worthless as a means of saving the soul.  The spiritual equivalent of the gold, i.e., glory - the glory they had here on earth from men, because of their good works - will be shown then not only to be worthless, but an added cause for their condemnation because of the pride it engendered.


Their possessions were “the stumbling block of their iniquity,” i.e., they were the things that led them to sin by making them proud, and independent of God.  They have been the same stumbling block to multitudes down through the years, and perhaps never more so than to this present generation.  Possessions can’t satisfy the soul, or “fill the bowels,” i.e., give contentment, that inner peace which is possessed only by the man who is satisfied to leave the ordering of his life in God’s hands.


7:20.  “As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in majesty: but they made the images of their abomination and of their detestable things: therefore have I set it far from them.”


“... beauty of his ornament” is understood by most to refer to the Temple which God had set in their midst as the symbol of His majesty.


Their “abominable and detestable things” were the idols they made of their gold and silver and then adorned with their jewels, and worshiped as gods.  But the God they had disdained and forsaken was about to “set it far from them.”  He was about to bring the Babylonians who would carry them away captive, after plundering and defiling the Temple which they themselves had already polluted by their hypocritical worship even while continuing to worship idols.


7:21.  “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 pollute it.”


Strangers, the Babylonians, would seize the bulk of Israel’s gold, silver, jewels, and idols as plunder. 


Some understand “the wicked of the earth” to have been local brigands, but many take it to be descriptive of the Babylonians.


7:22.  “My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute my secret place: for the robbers shall enter into it, and defile it.”


Because rebel Israel had already polluted God’s Temple by their hypocritical so-called worship, He would do nothing to prevent its further profanation by the Babylonians who could do nothing worse to it than had already been done by those who claimed to be His people, and He their God.


Israel had labored under the delusion that God would never permit His Temple to fall into the hand of an enemy, and that they therefore were safe because it was the center of their hypocritical worship.  Multitudes since then have been guilty of similar error.  They think that adherence to a mere religious ritual guarantees their salvation.  The same terrible awakening, however, awaits them as came to that past generation of Israel.


7:23.  “Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence.”


They themselves, by their own wickedness, were forging the links of the chains with which the Babylonians would bind them when carrying them away as captives, that captivity being God’s recompense of the bloodshed and rapine with which they had filled the land.


Today’s world is following all too faithfully in Israel’s guilty footsteps, and is about to reap the same harvest of Divine retribution, everything pointing to the imminence of that judgment.


7:24.  “Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pomp of the strong to cease; and their holy places shall be defiled.”


“... worst” is also translated “cruelest,” cruelty being a trait for which the Babylonians were notorious.  The houses of the Israelites would become the possession of the invader; and their arrogant pride in their strength would be exchanged for the shame of their becoming instead the vanquished rather than the victors.


As noted already, the Holy Place in the Temple, which they themselves had first defiled by their hypocritical so-called worship, would be defiled also by the actual intrusion of the conquerors.


7:25.  “Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none.”


“Destruction” is here also translated anguish: horror: panic: shuddering.  No greater antithesis can be imagined than that which exists between destruction and peace, but we are missing the ultimate lesson if we fail to see in their dreadful state the foreshadowing of that which awaits the unbeliever, eternally.


7:26.  “Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumor shall be upon rumor; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients.”


“Mischief” is also translated disaster: woe.  These evils would follow one another in quick succession; and as always in such circumstances, idle, contradictory rumors would be rampant.


In their terror the people would turn to those who should have been God’s representatives, but in vain.  There would be no prophetic vision; no instruction from the priests; no guidance from those who were supposed to be elders.


All of this continues to foreshadow what we see all around us in Christendom today.  During this Church age the prophet has been replaced with the teacher, but as then the prophets had no vision, so today do the teachers lack knowledge, their disobedience having cut off the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, apart from which there can be no understanding of Scripture.


The evil theologically educated, but unconverted clerical brood, masquerading today as God’s priests, are as ignorant of the spiritual content of Scripture as were their counterparts in that long-ago day, and with the same result: they know nothing of what God requires of man, and those over whom they lord it are therefore also ignorant of His requirements.


As for genuine scriptural elders (spiritual shepherds), they are men whom God has endowed with the special gift needed for that work, their principal God-given ability being to teach, see 1 Tim 3:2; but apostate Christendom, for the most part, has replaced them with successful businessmen who attempt to run the churches under their care as though the Church were a business enterprise, which in many cases is all it is.  The end result is that the travesties, masquerading as churches, are as abhorrent to God as was idolatrous Israel; and as the one perished under His judgment, so just as surely will the other, that of the apostate church being just as near as was that of apostate Israel in the day when Ezekiel uttered his warnings.


7:27.  “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 the Lord.”


The mourning king is generally taken to have been Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, “the prince” being understood to be simply another appellation for him; but others understand the king to have been Jehoiachin, languishing as a prisoner in Babylon; and “the prince” to have been Zedekiah.  Walvoord and Zuck, for example, in The Bible Knowledge Commentary write, “Ezekiel generally used the word ‘prince’ to refer to Zedekiah (12:10,12: 21:25), never giving him the title ‘king.’  The only Israelite Ezekiel called ‘king’ was Jehoiachin, in captivity in Babylon (1:2).”


“... desolation” is also rendered despair: horror: grief; and the word troubled as used here is also translated palsied by terror: shake with fright: tremble: paralyzed with fear: wrung in anguish.


God’s doing to them “after their way” is also rendered as they deserve: as their conduct deserves: according to their deserts: as they have behaved.  And again, it is emphasized that what they had refused to learn through Divine benignity, they would discover only by means of His judgments.  And sadly, little has changed since then.

[Ezekiel 8]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough