Friday after the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Ezekiel 10-12 (NKJV)
10:1 And I looked, and there in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim, there appeared something like a sapphire stone, having the appearance of the likeness of a throne. 2 Then He spoke to the man clothed with linen, and said, “Go in among the wheels, under the cherub, fill your hands with coals of fire from among the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.” And he went in as I watched.
3 Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and the cloud filled the inner court. 4 Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and paused over the threshold of the temple; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’s glory. 5 And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard even in the outer court, like the voice of Almighty God when He speaks.
6 Then it happened, when He commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, “Take fire from among the wheels, from among the cherubim,” that he went in and stood beside the wheels. 7 And the cherub stretched out his hand from among the cherubim to the fire that was among the cherubim, and took some of it and put it into the hands of the man clothed with linen, who took it and went out. 8 The cherubim appeared to have the form of a man’s hand under their wings.
9 And when I looked, there were four wheels by the cherubim, one wheel by one cherub and another wheel by each other cherub; the wheels appeared to have the color of a beryl stone. 10 As for their appearance, all four looked alike—as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. 11 When they went, they went toward any of their four directions; they did not turn aside when they went, but followed in the direction the head was facing. They did not turn aside when they went. 12 And their whole body, with their back, their hands, their wings, and the wheels that the four had, were full of eyes all around. 13 As for the wheels, they were called in my hearing, “Wheel.” 14 Each one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, the second face the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.
15 And the cherubim were lifted up. This was the living creature I saw by the River Chebar. 16 When the cherubim went, the wheels went beside them; and when the cherubim lifted their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also did not turn from beside them. 17 When the cherubim stood still, the wheels stood still, and when one was lifted up, the other lifted itself up, for the spirit of the living creature was in them.
18 Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. 19 And the cherubim lifted their wings and mounted up from the earth in my sight. When they went out, the wheels were beside them; and they stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
20 This is the living creature I saw under the God of Israel by the River Chebar, and I knew they were cherubim. 21 Each one had four faces and each one four wings, and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings. 22 And the likeness of their faces was the same as the faces which I had seen by the River Chebar, their appearance and their persons. They each went straight forward.
11:1 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the East Gate of the LORD’s house, which faces eastward; and there at the door of the gate were twenty-five men, among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people. 2 And He said to me: “Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity and give wicked counsel in this city, 3 who say, ‘The time is not near to build houses; this city is the caldron, and we are the meat.’ 4 Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man!”
5 Then the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said to me, “Speak! ‘Thus says the LORD: “Thus you have said, O house of Israel; for I know the things that come into your mind. 6 You have multiplied your slain in this city, and you have filled its streets with the slain.”
7 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Your slain whom you have laid in its midst, they are the meat, and this city is the caldron; but I shall bring you out of the midst of it. 8 You have feared the sword; and I will bring a sword upon you,” says the Lord GOD. 9 “And I will bring you out of its midst, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and execute judgments on you. 10 You shall fall by the sword. I will judge you at the border of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD. 11 This city shall not be your caldron, nor shall you be the meat in its midst. I will judge you at the border of Israel. 12 And you shall know that I am the LORD; for you have not walked in My statutes nor executed My judgments, but have done according to the customs of the Gentiles which are all around you.”‘”
13 Now it happened, while I was prophesying, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then I fell on my face and cried with a loud voice, and said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Will You make a complete end of the remnant of Israel?”
14 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 15 “Son of man, your brethren, your relatives, your countrymen, and all the house of Israel in its entirety, are those about whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Get far away from the LORD; this land has been given to us as a possession.’
16 “Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.”‘
17 “Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”‘
18 “And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. 19 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord GOD.
22 So the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel was high above them. 23 And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain, which is on the east side of the city. 24 Then the Spirit took me up and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to those in captivity.
And the vision that I had seen went up from me. 25 So I spoke to those in captivity of all the things the LORD had shown me.
12:1 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 2 “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.
3 “Therefore, son of man, prepare your belongings for captivity, and go into captivity by day in their sight. You shall go from your place into captivity to another place in their sight. It may be that they will consider, though they are a rebellious house. 4 By day you shall bring out your belongings in their sight, as though going into captivity; and at evening you shall go in their sight, like those who go into captivity. 5 Dig through the wall in their sight, and carry your belongings out through it. 6 In their sight you shall bear them on your shoulders and carry them out at twilight; you shall cover your face, so that you cannot see the ground, for I have made you a sign to the house of Israel.”
7 So I did as I was commanded. I brought out my belongings by day, as though going into captivity, and at evening I dug through the wall with my hand. I brought them out at twilight, and I bore them on my shoulder in their sight.
8 And in the morning the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 9 “Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, ‘What are you doing?’
10 “Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “This burden concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel who are among them.”‘ 11 Say, ‘I am a sign to you.
‘As I have done, so shall it be done to them; they shall be carried away into captivity.’
12 “And the prince who is among them shall bear his belongings on his shoulder at twilight and go out. They shall dig through the wall to carry them out through it. He shall cover his face, so that he cannot see the ground with his eyes. 13 I will also spread My net over him, and he shall be caught in My snare. I will bring him to Babylon, to the land of the Chaldeans; yet he shall not see it, though he shall die there. 14 I will scatter to every wind all who are around him to help him, and all his troops; and I will draw out the sword after them.
15 “Then they shall know that I am the LORD, when I scatter them among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries. 16 But I will spare a few of their men from the sword, from famine, and from pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the Gentiles wherever they go. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.”
17 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 18 “Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink your water with trembling and anxiety. 19 And say to the people of the land, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the land of Israel: “They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink their water with dread, so that her land may be emptied of all who are in it, because of the violence of all those who dwell in it. 20 Then the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall become desolate; and you shall know that I am the LORD.”‘”
21 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb that you people have about the land of Israel, which says, ‘The days are prolonged, and every vision fails’? 23 Tell them therefore, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “I will lay this proverb to rest, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.”‘ But say to them, ‘”The days are at hand, and the fulfillment of every vision. 24 For no more shall there be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25 For I am the LORD. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass; it will no more be postponed; for in your days, O rebellious house, I will say the word and perform it,” says the Lord GOD.'”
26 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 27 “Son of man, look, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off.’
28 “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “None of My words will be postponed any more, but the word which I speak will be done,” says the Lord GOD.'”
The ways of men and angels are again brought into sharp contrast, for we see that the cherubim never turn aside and never deviate from their path, while the deviation of the people from the clear Word of the Lord has grown worse and worse. The people are scattered among the Gentiles, but this is only after their own actions have made it clear that they will not abide in the word: “And you shall know that I am the LORD; for you have not walked in My statutes nor executed My judgments, but have done according to the customs of the Gentiles which are all around you.” (11:12)
In these chapters, the prophecy makes it clear that the time of the Lord’s judgment on Jerusalem will be delayed no longer: “‘For I am the LORD. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass; it will no more be postponed; for in your days, O rebellious house, I will say the word and perform it,’ says the LORD GOD.” (12:25) But even in the scattering of the people, the remnant is preserved: “Thus says the LORD GOD: ‘I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.'” (11:17) The remnant would be gathered in the land once again so that the promise which the Lord had made concerning the Seed of Abraham, Who is the Christ, would be fulfilled. For the Lord preserves His Church, and grants to her that which she needs.
Prayer: Lord, we beseech Thee, grant Thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds to follow Thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.