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· 所有圣经的话都是神的话语
· 神的自主性(God’s Independenc
· 光照——圣灵赐予属灵的悟性
· 道成肉身及基督的神人二性
· 以西结指向终极的先知耶稣基督(
· 基督的人性(The Humanity of Ch
· 以西结指向耶稣基督这位终极的先
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【以西结书】
 · 以西结指向终极的先知耶稣基督(中
 · 以西结指向耶稣基督这位终极的先知
 · 以西结书主题思想分析
 · 以西结书(2): 作者
 · 以西结书(1:1-3:27)异象和使命(
【教义】
 · 所有圣经的话都是神的话语
 · 神的自主性(God’s Independence)
 · 光照——圣灵赐予属灵的悟性
 · 道成肉身及基督的神人二性
 · 基督的人性(The Humanity of Chri
 · 重生(1):尼哥底母其人​
 · 圣经的清晰性(Clarity of Scriptu
 · 得荣耀——得著复活的身体
 · 耶稣将永远具有人性
 · 罗马书8:29中“预先知道”(progi
【信仰与生活】
 · 论断、审判与警戒
 · 从百夫长的信心看伯拉纠主义(上)
 · 从亚当这个哑巴狗一世看基督荣耀的
 · 圣经真的教导“彼此”顺服了吗?
 · 牧者面临的试探
 · 近几年华人教会命案反思
 · 万维最热门的东东:死掐
 · 给右撇子冠云顺顺脑筋
 · 为什么恐怖袭击发生在波士顿?
 · 人的流感为何从“禽兽”而来?!
【聖經論生老病死】
 · 聖經是如何論到死亡的
 · 聖經是如何論到疾病與醫治的
【回到創世記】
 · 上帝藉著祂的话由无有造出万有
 · 亚当夏娃吃了禁果后眼睛明亮看见了
 · 亚当夏娃吃禁果前眼睛不够明亮么?
 · 上帝给人自由意志了吗?
 · 亚当夏娃吃禁果后上帝震怒了吗?
 · 人吃了善惡樹的果子後——獲得了世
【进化?退化?】
 · 從文明古國欺壓盲人陳光针S想——誰
【神造人乃是造男造女】
 · 女人的事奉
 · 为什么保罗要求“女人要沉静学道、
 · 男女性别系列3:实存相等,但角色从
 · 有男有女的人反映神的形像
 · 神照著自己的形象造人乃是造男造女
【讀經心得】
 · 窄门多窄?
 · “那字句是叫人死,精意是叫人活”
 · 父吸引人=父硬拽人到耶稣那里去
 · 怜悯与教导——爱心与行为
 · 這話是叫你們厭棄麼?——基督為絆
 · “種子”與“後裔”
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05/01/2014 - 05/31/2014
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02/01/2014 - 02/28/2014
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以西结指向耶稣基督这位终极的先知(英文版) 2014-03-28 22:22:55



Ezekiel Points Forward to Jesus Christ, the Ultimate Prophet

Ezekiel 3:1-21 

               Apart from some well-known verses that clearly predict Jesus, the Old Testament prophets remain largely unchartered territory for most of us. When we open Ezekiel, we found that it contains a mix of oral discourses, visions, symbolic actions, allegories and apocalyptic. The visions in chapter 1 have already made us dizzy. The country, culture, and chronology gaps are huge and seem to be unbridgeable. Many of us wonder, is it worth the effort? Some of us take Ezekiel as a book with high level theology. They would like to study it in Sunday class or in seminar for increasing their knowledge on Bible. But they don’t think, from bottom of their hearts, the message of Ezekiel as relevant to their daily Christian life.  But is the message of Ezekiel too old to be relevant to the twenty-first-century Christian?

            Not really!

            In fact, the prophets reveal Jesus and they do so in many varies and remarkable ways. Every Old Testament prophet points forward to Jesus Christ, the ultimate Prophet, from many perspectives such as our needs, to the divine calling, varied descriptions, divine revelations, covenantal role and even the rejection from congregation. Ezekiel is not an exemption. I would like to invite you to discover Jesus Christ from these passages with me together. At the end of this study, I am sure, you would find out that our study is very rewarding.         

The Message (2:8-3:3)

                In the first chapter of book of Ezekiel, we can see “the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar canal, and the hand (also translated as Spirit)of the LORD was upon him there.”(Ezek. 1:3). The Lord spoke to Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:28). Then he was able to see the Kingdom (Ezek. 1:1-28). Once Ezekiel had been humbled by the vision of God (ch. 1), he was prepared to hear the voice of God (ch.2-3).

       The demand to eat the scroll immediately tests Ezekiel’s obedience, a matter of contrast with the rebelliousness of his compatriots. The progression from command to compliance moves through three moments of speech and response (2:8–10; 3:1–2; 3:3).

       The scroll God gave him contained messages of “lamentations, and mourning, and woe.”  This is a bitter message. This symbolized the message that Ezekiel was to deliver in the early part of his ministry and also spoke of the effect it would have on sensitive hearers. They would have to hear that the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity are necessary measures for the God of grace to employ if He is to correct His disobedient people and draw them back from complete and permanent apostasy. It would make them lament, mourn and cry out “Woe, woe!”

                 God directed Ezekiel to eat what he saw before him. He must make God’s word part of himself before he tried to share it with the house of Israel. The preacher must digest and assimilate the message he proclaims so that it becomes, as it were, a very part of his being (cf. Jer. 15:16).

                  Since it was God’s word, Ezekiel found the scroll sweet to his taste, just like the poet experienced “how sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”(Ps. 119:103). This symbolized the message of hope that Ezekiel was to deliver in the later part of his ministry. Jehovah will restore a repentant remnant of His chastened people and establish them in a glorious latter-day theocracy with a new temple. This is a sweet message!  The purpose of Ezekiel’s ministry is to encourage the exiles to remain faithful to the Lord so that he would fulfil his offer to restore them to the promised land and rebuild the temple and Jerusalem to new heights of glory.

                   As we all know, every Old Testament prophet points forward to Jesus Christ, the Prophet, eating the scroll,  the learning process of Ezekiel, can be also seen in Jesus’ early life. Even Jesus himself has to grow in knowledge.  He learned his past, his purpose, his principle, and his people from Scripture, and his learning source is just the scroll Ezekiel ate. 

             The prophet received divine revelations. The prophet's message was the result not of his own reasoning, insight, or observations but of divine revelation. God said, "(I) will put My words in His mouth ... He shall speak to them all that I command Him." The prophet had a strict concern to communicate the exact words spoken to him -the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

                 The carefulness and faithfulness with which the prophets heard and spoke the exact words of God, no more and no less, build expectation of the supreme carefulness and faithfulness with which Jesus Christ, the Prophet, heard and spoke what God revealed to Him. Jesus claimed that “my teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority”(John 7:16-17).

A Preacher and His Congregation (3:1-11)

                The divine calling and commissioning of every Old Testament prophet point toward the divine calling and commissioning of Jesus Christ, the Prophet. Ezekiel was called to be prophet for the same purpose.

                  Following Ezekiel’s obedient response, the emphasis shifts from prophet to people, though both remain in view. The command to eat is now combined with the commission to go and speak. The command to go and speak is repeated in v. 11, framing this second speech. While the first speech emphasized divine sending (2:3–4), here the focus is on the prophet’s going.

                   After eating the scroll, Ezekiel was now equipped to go to the house of Israel and speak the word of God. Strength and courage were necessary equipment for a prophet, especially when preaching judgment. Jeremiah was similarly equipped (see Jer 1:18; cf. Isa 50:7). As there were no linguistic, cultural or geographical obstacles, the people should listen to him. Sadly the reverse was true. The untaught heathen would have responded to his message better than Israel. However he should not take rejection personally. Because the messenger is the representative of the sender, to reject the messenger is to reject the sender. The Lord identifies His messengers with Himself (v. 7; cf. Luke 10:16; John. 8:42, 47; 13:20).

                 Early in chapter 2, to prepare him for his mission God first strengthened Ezekiel. The Lord addressed Ezekiel as “son of man” more than 90 times. The phrase emphasized Ezekiel’s humanity and frailty, especially in contrast with his recent vision of the glory of God. Most of the time the phrase “son of man” precedes a direct command of God. The first command that God gave to Ezekiel was: “Stand upon they feet, and I will speak unto thee” (2:1). Service, not servility, was what God required. With the command came the inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit.

                    The varied representations of the prophets revealed the varied dimensions of their ministries. For example, the Hebrew word for prophet means "a called person." Its Greek translation can mean "to tell forth (preach) or foretell (predict)." Other designations include a seer (of visions), a servant, a messenger, a watchman, or simply the man of God. Ezekiel almost has all of these designations.

                   Every designation or description of a prophet reveals a little about the one Prophet who fitted these designations perfectly, Jesus Christ.

            God wants Ezekiel to be prepared for disappointment (2: 3-5). He warned Ezekiel that his congregation would be “rebellious,” “impudent,” and “stiff hearted.” Their hard faces revealed their hard hearts! Whether or not they listened, he was to preach with authority so that they would know that a prophet has been among them (2:5). The converted would know this by the comfort of his ministry; the unconverted would know it by the convictions of his ministry.

               God want Ezekiel to be fearless despite intimidation (2: 6-7). Four times the Lord told his messenger that he must not fear his audience, who are compared to thorns, thistles and scorpions. You can tell from this how terrible his congregation is. Ezekiel must expect to be pierced through on many occasions and stung by their criticism and personal attacks. As God’s representative, however, Ezekiel must not be intimidated, neither by their fierce looks nor threatening words (Matt. 23:29-31, 34, 37).

                    Ezekiel’s congregation, the rebellious house, was illustrated as an image of “dry bones” later in the chapter 37.  The dry bones symbolized spiritually dead people.  In order to have them revived, Ezekiel is instructed to preach the words to the bones and “preach” to the wind (or “Spirit”) (Ezek. 37:4-10). This speaks the primacy of preaching. Because that’s the only way to convert sinner and sanctify saints. Ministers must preach the Word only and trust that God’s Word would not return to Him void (Isa. 55:10–11). That is why apostles understood that they needed to devote themselves “to prayer and to the ministry of the word”(Acts 6:4). If you want me summarize Jesus’s earthly ministry with one verse, I would choose Matthew 9:35:“Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.” It’s all about preaching!  God’s minister has to preach God’s Word in a very bold manner. This is summarized by the Apostles with a Greek word parrēsia(Acts 4:13, 29, 31; 2Cor.3:12; 7:4;Eph. 6:19; 1Tim. 3:13; John 7:26).  It means to preach God’s Word boldly, openly, plainly, with confidence and liberty. It usually used on Godly men in the New Testament.

           But before preaching, a preacher has to listen carefully and take to heart. The prophet is to stand in marked contrast to the people, who do not listen (3:10).

A Voice of a Great Earthquake (3:12-15)

              Ezekiel more than once describes his visionary experiences in terms of transport by the Spirit (3:12, 14; 8:3; 11:1, 24; 40:1 -3; 43:5). Simultaneous events are being described: Ezekiel is being taken away, but at the same time the throne of the Lord is departing. The departure of the glory of God is accompanied by the same sensory experiences as its approach (cf. 1:24). There is ambiguity in the Hebrew ruakh: “Spirit” implies the divine spirit, but, given the stormy setting, “wind” or the Spirit manifested in the form of wind is also possible. However, there is a tacit “transportation” here (see 3:15), and the parallels in 8:3 and 37:1 point toward this certainly being the divine Spirit in action in some form. In the audience with God, the living creatures have been momentarily forgotten, but their movement brings them dramatically into focus once more. They want Ezekiel to pay attention on the the voice of a great earthquake: “Blessed be the glory of the LORD from its place!” (3:12) This verse touches the theme of Ezekiel: God’s glorious presence departs in justice and returns in mercy.

       The temple and city of Jerusalem had become so defiled by sin, especially idols in the sanctuary, that God's glorious presence could no longer stay there. The glory of God rises up and away from the cherubim in the Most Holy place (9:3). It then moves to the threshold of the temple (9:3: 10:4) and pauses. The glory next "whirls" (10:13) away from the doorstep of the temple and rests for a time above the cherubim on the divine throne chariot (10:18). God was mounting His throne-chariot to ride out of His temple and city. Before God left both the temple and the city, there was a final pause. Finally the glory leaves the city and stands on the mountain overlooking Jerusalem (11:22-23) and "Ichabod" can be written over it.

        Have you observed how many stops and pauses God departs?  What those stops and pauses tell you?  They tell us that he was reluctant to depart. He was looking for someone who would intercede with him to return.  None of the priests in the inner court, between the temple and the altar, would court his stay; therefore he leaves their court, and stands at the east gate, which led into the court of the people, to see if any of them would yet at length stand in the gap. That’s what God wants Ezekiel to do. God called him to stand between an angry God and a sinful people.  Ezekiel reminds us of our need for a prophetic mediator and anticipates God's provision of Jesus Christ, the Prophet.

An Observer (3:10–15)

                 The preacher must know two things. The first priority of any preacher is to be attuned to God’s word. So Ezekiel was told to take into his heart “all my words which I shall speak unto thee.” He must “listen closely” whenever God spoke to him (3. 10). A good preacher must first be a good listener. Secondly, the preacher must also be attuned to the needs of his audience. For this reason God commissioned Ezekiel to go to the captives (3:11). He sat with them near the river Chebar for seven days. This was a time of reflection and observation as he pondered God’s word and the people’s needs.

         In language echoing 1:1–3, Ezekiel’s visionary encounter with the Spirit draws to an end. It is tempting to think of going in bitterness in the heat of my spirit simply as a state of agitation following this traumatic encounter, and the translation “in the heat” leaves open this possibility. But this idiom appears 30 times in the OT, and the ESV generally translates it “in wrath” or “in fury” or the like. Probably this nuance also applies here. Ezekiel has gained a divine perspective on his people’s sin, and his anger reflects that shared viewpoint. His bitterness of spirit may have been reluctance to go, or it may have been that he was filled with righteous anger over the sin of Israel. We can imaging nobody would like to go to that kind of congregation without any hesitation and every preacher “dwells” in such a rebellious house would be “overwhelmed” as Ezekiel experienced.  In any case, he was very conscious that “the hand of the Lord was strong” on him. He felt God’s power filling him (3:14).

          The picture that Ezekiel dwelt among his fellow captured people and preached God’s words to them (Ezek. 3:1-27) reminds us Jesus Christ.  “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth”(John 1:14).  We also read “when he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things”(Mark 6:34) .

A Watchman Who Was Warned to Warn (3:16–21)

                     The phrase “The Word of the Lord came” (3:16) occurs more than 50 times in Ezekiel, more than any other prophetic book. Ezekiel is assigned duty as an early warning system for Judah. This role is rehearsed and elaborated in 33:1-9, the passage introducing the second phase of Ezekiel’s ministry.

                    Ezekiel’s appointment to serve as a “watchman” for Israel- a metaphor drawn from urban life. His special task as watchman is spelled out here; its urgency is more fully elaborated in ch. 18. In ancient Israel, watchmen were stationed on city walls to serve as the eyes of the city (see 2Sa 18:24–27; 2Ki 9:17–20; SS 3:3; 5:7; Isa 52:8; 62:6), especially to warn of approaching danger (see 33:2–3, 6; Ps 127:1; Isa 21:6; 56:10; Jer. 6:17; Hos 9:8).

                   This role entailed responsibility for those to whom he ministered and a duty to warn them of an impending threat. He was warned to warn the citizens in the city. Failure to issue the warning would make him accountable for the deaths that resulted; if the warning went unheeded, Ezekiel would be exonerated. It was unthinkable that the residents of a city would ignore the warning cry of a watchman, but Ezekiel’s word was largely disregarded. Many people are puzzled wonder why such a strange thing would happen, just as many people are puzzled by what Jesus quoted the prophecy of Isaiah “lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them” (Matt. 13:15; John 12:40). 

                  The picture of city’s watchman is clearly illustrated as a trumpet man in chapter 33, where the same message is uttered. Ezekiel was called by God (v. 7) and called by the people (v. 2) to be a watchman, who hears God’s word of warning (v. 7). He warns as a trumpet man who blows truthfully (v. 8), clearly, loudly, constantly, compassionately (v. 10). He has to be an accountable man. If he does not blow, he will be damned (v. 6) and he will be judged (v. 6,8). But he is also a limited man. Because he blows but no one listens (v. 4) but he is not to be blamed (v. 9).

              This speaks about the necessity of preaching. Puritans had a profound sense on this. They considered preaching as God’s great “converting ordinance,” they said. Seldom would anyone be converted apart from it. William Ames wrote, “Preaching is the ordinance of God, sanctified for the begetting of faith, for the opening of the understanding, for the drawing of the will and affections to Christ.” Not surprisingly, therefore, they were experientially acquainted with Paul’s statement, “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16), and loved to quote it. Paul also echoed Ezekiel’s message to remind Timothy “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. ……. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them,  so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1Tim. 4:13-16). Thomas Hall put it this way: “Ministers must be preachers. They not only may but they must preach. There is a necessity backed with a woe (1 Cor. 9:16). So that they must either preach or perish: this must be done or they are undone.” 

A Stumbling Stone (3:20)

        One of the most important principles of biblical interpretation is that Scripture interprets Scripture. This means that the best way to discover what a problem passage means is to see what other verses dealing with the same theme say. Scripture always illuminates Scripture, and the comparison of Scripture with Scripture is the only sure way to study the Bible accurately.

                      When Paul talks about Israel’s unbelief in Romans 9:32-33, he says “… They stumbled over the ‘stumbling stone.’ As it is written: ‘See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’”  Paul introduces an image to illustrate what he has been saying in the earlier half of the paragraph of chapter 9 in Romans, namely, that Israel had not obtained salvation because the people as a whole had been offended by Jesus, rather than believing him or placing their faith in him. His image is of a “stumbling stone,” which is what he calls Jesus, drawing on two passages in Isaiah for the illustration. Yet these are not the only places in the Bible where we find this image, and a careful study of the many passages there are shows how rich a theme this was, not only for Paul but for many of the New Testament figures, including Jesus. This image of “stumbling stone” is also shown in the passage we are studying (Ezek. 3:30). Israelites in Jerusalem “pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone (Rom. 9:31-32). Paul spoke about this in an autobiographical way in 1 Corinthians 1:22–25, 27–29, saying that the gospel of Jesus and his cross was “weakness” to the Romans, “foolishness” to the Greeks, but a cause of “stumbling” to the Jews. They did not believe that Judah and Jerusalem deserved the judgment of total destruction and exile.

                 A very interesting example appears in chapter 6 of the Gospel according to John, where the discipleship was tested by the doctrine. The Lord Jesus Christ had been popular. Many had followed him. Then, as he began to teach, his doctrine became the measure of his followers’ discipleship, and most dropped away.

                     John says, “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ ” And he adds, “Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, ‘Does this ensnare you?’ ” (John 6:60–61). The reason lies in the fact that Christ’s teachings were “hard” to accept. The Greek word is sklēros, and it clearly does not mean “hard to understand.” It means “hard to tolerate.” So long as Christ’s followers could not understand him, they stayed around and asked questions. It was when they did understand him that they went elsewhere. They left because what they heard was so contrary to their own views that they would not accept it.

                      When interpreting “The verb translated ensnare (σκανδαλίζει from σκάνδαλον, the bait-stick in a trap or snare; this crooked stick springs the trap)”, William Hendriksen says “it does not merely signify offend, nor, on the other hand, does it mean kill; it means: cause to fall into a trap, here in the figurative sense; hence, cause to sin. Jesus, therefore, is asking whether by his sermon these hearers have actually been seduced or led into sin.” Subsequently, they would despise and reject the preacher due to his message (Isa. 53:3; John 6:6 ).This is how “stumbling stone” works.

                   Just as Jesus “came to his own, and his own people did not receive him”(John1:11), Ezekiel would be opposed and rejected by his countrymen. Starting with the first false prophet's "Has God said?" in the garden of Eden, all of God's prophets have been contradicted in the ongoing spiritual battle with the father of lies and his mouthpieces. The rejection of God's messengers and their messages prefigured the rejection of God's greatest Messenger and Message, Jesus Christ.

                     This applies to our own day and to ourselves. Often, when professing Christians criticize a true servant of God, one who is really giving out God’s truth, and complain that his teachings are “hard,” the real cause is not the difficulty of the doctrine but rather the unwillingness of the people involved to accept what they hear. Perhaps it conflicts with their own views. Perhaps it is different from the traditions of their fathers. Many of these persons also copy the men of Christ’s day in another way, for they grumble among themselves as they drop away rather than coming directly to Jesus Christ to state their difficulties.

A Prophet in whom the Spirit of Christ Dwelt

                When Jesus talked about regeneration to Nicodemus, he clearly referred to Ezekiel 36:24-27, indicating that regeneration is resulted from water (God’s words) and Holy Spirit. Anyone who has the Spirit of Christ can see the kingdom of God (John 3:3) and can enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5). The regeneration of Ezekiel himself serves as a perfect example for it. We can see “the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar canal, and the hand (also translated as Spirit) of the LORD was upon him there.”(Ezek. 1:3). The Lord spoke to Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:28;2:1-8; 3:1-11,16-21) and the Spirit dwelt in him and lifted him up (Ezek. 3:12-14; 22-24). Then he was able to see the Kingdom (Ezek. 1:28; 3:23) and enter the kingdom (Ezek. 1:28; 3:1-3, 15,23). He is the one who has been delivered from one realm, the realm of sin and death, and has been transferred to the realm of Christ’s Spirit, which is life. When he saw the kingdom, he fell on his face and started eat the scroll, he was humbled and ready to serve as a suffering prophet. He saw the King, son of God, would leave his heavenly throne, which is mobile, moving with lightning speed across the sky, and come down to the earth as son of man dwelling in his captured people, give up his freedom for the freedom of the chosen people who are bonded with sin, serve them as a suffering prophet (John1:14, Phl. 2:6-11). Since the Spirit of Christ dwelt in him and lifted him up, he was able to be imitator of Christ. He was a new creature in Christ’s image. He stood in the gap between an angry God and a sinful people as Christ did. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth”(John 1:14). Ezekiel dwelt among his fellow captured people and preached God’s words to them (Ezek 3:1-27) . The audience of Christ in in the synagogue in Capernaum took offensive on his teaching and did not follow him any longer(John 6:17-71), Ezekiel experienced the same as Christ did (Ezek. 2:4-7; 3:4-11, 17-21). Just like “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”(John 1:5), when the light shines on preacher’s face, he will be persecuted, while the prophet has to be bold in preaching. “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John1:11, Ezek. 2:3-7;3:4-11). He would come to the earth, not as earthly conquering king, but as a prophet, to preach the words from heavenly Father boldly, which looks foolish to those perished ones(1Cor. 1:18), but the true wisdom for believer. Ezekiel did the same thing as Christ did. He spoke prophecies to the dry bones (preaching God’s words to spiritual dead people) and the wind (prayer to Holy Spirit) (Ezek. 37:3-14). Christ made warning as “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”(Matt. 2:2), while Ezekiel made warning as “Turn back, turn back from your evil deeds! Why should you die, O house of Israel?”(Ezek. 33:11). ………so on and so on. All of these indicate the presence of Spirit of Christ in Ezekiel. His eyes were opened and he got the same experience as Isaiah’s “I saw the Lord” (Isa.6).

                     Have you seen the Lord?

                 Paul says: “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God”(Rom. 8:5-8).

                     Ezekiel obviously lived in accordance with the Spirit and he had his mind set on what the Spirit desires. He is a real Christian.  He is not a “carnal Christian” who is apart from the regenerating and transforming work of the Holy Spirit of God in salvation.

                      How to differentiate these two classes of people?

                    Ezekiel could be a good example. Have you seen the Lord as he had? Are you obedient as he was in learning the biblical truth? Is God’s words really sweet to your taste? Are you bold in preaching as he was? Do you earnestly intercede for your brothers and sisters? Are you willing to “dwell” in the congregation who is hostile to you?  …….

                     If you do not know the answer to those question, do not let the matter rest until you know that you really are in Christ. Nothing in all life comes close to that matter in importance. Pursue it with all your strength. And if by the grace of God - perhaps through the application of his Word to your heart through this study - you realize that you are not yet a new creature in Christ, call out for salvation. Trust that, as God has been gracious in opening your eyes to your true condition, he will also work in grace to bring you out of death into the utter newness of the Christian life.



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