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

11:1.  “Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the Lord’s house, which looketh eastward: and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men; among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azur and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people.”


11:2.  “Then said he unto me, Son of man, these are the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city:”


As has been noted already, the east invariably speaks of evil, and here we are introduced to two principal men, and twenty-five accomplices, who plot iniquity, nothing more being known of Jaazaniah and Pelatiah than what is recorded here.


Opinion is divided as to whether these are the same twenty-five  mentioned in 8:16.


11:3.  “Which say, It is not near; let us build houses: this city is the caldron, and we be the flesh.”


They rejected Ezekiel’s warning of impending judgment, and urged the people to continue building houses in anticipation of a long future in the city, their assurance of enduring prosperity and multiplication being conveyed in their likening Jerusalem to a pot filled with flesh.  As meat in a caldron or pot is safe from the fire, so did they imagine themselves safe from judgment in Jerusalem and in the land.


The same false optimism governs the thinking of the world today in spite of the warning given in the fate of that rebellious generation of Israel, and in the assurance given in Lk 17:28-30 “... as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded.  But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.  Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”


11:4.  “Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man.”


Ezekiel’s prophesying was meant to be a warning of the judgment about to overtake that wicked generation; and as he was commissioned to proclaim that warning, so are we also responsible to warn the godless men and women of this present age that judgment is about to destroy them.


11:5.  “And the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the Lord; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them.”


The Spirit’s falling upon the prophet continues to remind us that unlike this present age of grace in which the Holy Spirit permanently indwells every true believer, there was no such permanent indwelling in the OT age.


The prophet was to warn the people that God, Who is a “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart,” Heb 4:12, was fully aware of all their evil thinking, nor is He any less aware of what is in the hearts and minds of this present generation.


11:6.  “Ye have multiplied your slain in this city, and ye have filled the streets thereof with the slain.”


God was fully aware of all the innocent blood they had shed in Jerusalem and thoughout the land, and He is equally well aware of the blood that is shed in the world today, not the least part of the killing being by so-called “legal” abortion.


11:7.  “Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Your slain whom ye have laid in the midst of it, they are the flesh, and this city is the caldron: but I will bring you forth out of the midst of it.”


God’s view of things was very different from theirs.  They saw the city as a safe place filled with busy activity: He saw it as a charnel house filled with the bodies of their victims; and for their wickedness He was about to have many of them slain, and the remainder carried out of it into captivity in Babylon. 


Judgment is also about to overtake this present evil world, that judgment being in the form of the terrible catastrophies of the impending Great Tribulation.


11:8.  “Ye have feared the sword; and I will bring a sword upon you, saith the Lord God.”


What they feared - destruction by the sword - was what God was about to bring upon them.


11:9.  “And I will bring you out of the midst thereof, and deliver you into the hands of strangers;, and will execute judgments among you.”


The executors of God’s judgments would be the Babylonians, who would slay many of the rebel Israelites, and drag the remainder off into captivity.


11:10.  “Ye shall fall by the sword; I will judge you in the border of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.”


Within all the borders of Israel, throughout the length and breadth of the land, the sword of the Babylonians would slay them, the fulfillment of what was foretold causing them to realize - too late to save them - that God keeps His word.  Their wickedness would not go unpunished.


This present evil world will learn the same lesson in the fast approaching judgments of the Great Tribulation.


11:11.  “This city shall not be your caldron, neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof; but I will judge you in the border of Israel:”


As noted in our study of verse three, they wrongly saw themselves figuratively like meat in a pot, i.e., they were confident that  they were safe and secure, and that their prosperity would never end.  But God’s judgment was about to bring death to many, and captivity to the survivors.


“... in the border of Israel” may mean within all Israel’s borders: the judgment would envelop the whole land; but it may also have specific reference to the execution of king Zedekiah and some of the principal men recorded in 2 Ki 25:18-21; Jer 52:8-28.


11:12.  “And ye shall know that I am the Lord: for ye have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you.”


When God had blessed them they had foolishly credited the false gods of their heathen neighbors, giving to those idols the worship which was His due alone; and rebelling against His good laws and ordinances, had adopted the wicked lifestyles of the surrounding idolatrous nations.  And now the God they had refused to recognize as the gracious Author of all their blessings, they were about know as the God of wrath and judgment.


And so is it still in the world.  Its billions spend their lives ignoring God while pursuing Satan’s baubbles, the vast majority of them finally descending into hell, where, eternally too late, they come to know Him as the terrible God of judgment, when but for their folly, they might have come to know Him as the God of love and mercy.


It is to be noted too that their sin wasn’t just negative.  They had not only failed to do what He had commanded, but had energetically practiced what He had positively forbidden, as does also this present generation.


11:13.  “And it came to pass, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died.  Then fell I down upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah Lord God! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel?”


There is nothing to indicate that Pelatiah’s sudden death did anything to awaken the people to their danger, nor are men and women today awakened to their own peril by the sudden deaths occurring daily all around them; as it is written, “God speaks once, yea twice, yet man perceives it not,” Job 33:14.


We should not, however, miss the practical instruction in Ezekiel’s response to Pelatiah’s sudden death.  It impelled his earnest supplication for the salvation of the guilty nation.  Surely the sudden deaths occurring around us every day ought to lead us to pray for the salvation, not only of our own family members, but of neighbors, fellow-workers - all, in fact, with whom we may have contact during the day.


11:14.  “Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying.”


11:15.  “Son of man, thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men of thy kindred, and all the house of Israel wholly, are they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, Get you far from the Lord: unto us is this land given in possession.”


Those who had been allowed to remain in the land when the majority had been carried captive to Babylon, had taken over the properties of their exiled brethren, and now their adamant command to those exiles was, “The Lord has sent you away, and has  given the land to us, so keep away.”  They were conveniently forgetting that in the year of jubilee, land that had been sold was to revert to the possession of the original owner to whom God had given it.


Their posture is reflected in the attitude of the world today.  Men act as though the earth belonged to them, and deny God any right to what is His own, their brazen effrontery extending even to dismissing Him from His creation, and replacing Him with “Mother nature.”


11:16.  “Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.”


God might chastise His people, but He would still be available to them as a small sanctuary to which they could come during their scattering amongst the nations; and in this we see a type of what He is to believers today.  No matter where we may be, no matter what our circumstances, He is always available to His own.


11:17.  “Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”


This regathering is not that which followed the end of their seventy-year exile in Babylon.  Very clearly what is written here has reference to that regathering which we are witnessing today,

for since 1948 we have seen the daily return to Palestine of the descendants of the Jews who were scattered worldwide in AD70, that regathering being proof that these are the closing days of the age, for the Lord’s assurance was that the generation witnessing that return would not pass away until all was fulfilled relative to His return in glory to inaugurate His millennial kingdom, Lk 21:31-32.


In the Millennium a repentant and converted Israel will inherit Palestine, and enjoy it without threat of molestation, she being then the head, and not the tail amongst the nations.


11:18.  “And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the destable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.”


Concomitant with that ultimate regathering of repentant and converted Israel will be the cleansing of the land from every trace of evil, the Lord Himself banishing into hell every unbeliever following His judgment of the nations at the end of the Great Tribulation.


11:19.  “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:”


This very clearly refers to the converted state of the repentant believing nation that will emerge from the Great Tribulation, a change which is exactly the same as that undergone by every believer of every age.  There is a complete transformation, the new life bestowed in response to faith being the very life of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  Their rebellious hearts were like stone, incapable of receiving any impression, but He would give them tender hearts responsive to every impulse of the Holy Spirit.


Scholars in general agree that the spirit here is the Holy Spirit.


11:20.  “That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”


Statutes were laws relating to the Divine order of worship; while ordinances were laws governing every day living.  In the Millennium both would be kept, because one of the factors contributing to the bliss of that age will be that the Lord Jesus Christ will then be ruling with a rod of iron, tolerating no infraction of His laws.  As long as sin remains unexpressed the offender will be allowed to live, but the moment it becomes overt he will have to offer the prescribed expiatory offering, or die.  God will not walk in the midst of an unclean people, hence His command, “Be ye holy, for I am holy,” 1 Pe 1:16.


11:21.  “But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord God.”


Those whose hearts are set upon what is filthy and detestable to God, will be given a measure of punishment proportionate to the degree of the evil entertained in the heart and practiced in the life.


11:22.  “Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.”


11:23.  “And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city.”


This describes the removal of God’s throne car or chariot from the city to the mountain (Mount of Olives), His final and reluctant step of departure from the midst of the sinful people whose failure to repent within His time had left Him no alternative but to destroy them; and it is instructive to note that the mountain upon which His throne car stopped was on the east side of the city, i.e., the direction which, in Scripture, always speaks of evil.


It was from that same mountain that the Lord wept over the doomed city, and from which He ascended to heaven, and to which He will return, see Ac 1:9-12.


11:24.  “Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought me in vision by the spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity, So the vision that I had seen went up from me.”


Following God’s departure from the city, the spirit, presumably the Holy Spirit, took the prophet, by means of a vision, into Chaldea (Babylon), to the Jewish exiles there, and the vision of the departing throne car gradually faded from sight.


11:25.  “Then I spake unto them of the captivity all the things that the Lord had shewed me.”


His rehearsal of all his experiences would undoubtedly refresh and encourage the hearts of the exiles.

[Ezekiel 12]


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