Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ezekiel 48

In the final chapter of his book, Ezekiel gives a  description of the several portions of the land belonging to each tribe, together with the portion allotted to the sanctuary, city, suburb, and prince.

Then Ezekiel gives an account of the new city. This will be the special place of LORD's presence and will be surrounded by twelve gates – three facing north, three south, three east and three west, each named after a tribe.
Ezekiel 48:35 “The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE"

Ezekiel 47

Ezekiel then observed water coming out of the temple, towards the east. These waters coming out of the temple created a new paradise. First the water was a shallow stream that was ankle deep, then it became knee-deep, then upto the waist, and later it was deep enough to swim in.

A great number of trees were seen growing on both sides of the river, indicating the fertility of the land, and a large number of fish will be in the river. The water finally reaches the dead sea, and a garden with surplus productivity is recorded on it's banks.
Ezekiel 47:12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.
Boundaries of land were announced for the twelve tribes of Israel in the coming age.

My Thoughts
That river which has it's source from the LORD, is the only one which gives abundant life. 

Ezekiel 46

In this chapter, Ezekiel provides instructions related to everyday worship. The gate of the inner court facing east is to closed for six working days. It would stay open on the Sabbath day and on the day of the New moon. The east gate was to be permanently closed.

On these holy days, the prince was to enter through the portico, and shall offer six male lambs and a ram all without defect on the Sabbath. Further stipulations for new moon offerings are explained.

As a means of crowd control, the prince will leave by the gate he entered, but the people would leave by the opposite gate. Stipulations for princely peace offerings along with daily offerings are given.

The last section of this chapter addresses the function of the temple kitchen. Finally, the guide took Ezekiel to the outer court and it's four corners, where he observed enclosed courts in the four corners. These were the kitchens
Ezekiel 46:24 He said to me, “These are the kitchens where those who minister at the temple are to cook the sacrifices of the people.”

Ezekiel 45

First part of this chapter gives specific instructions about the land - a sacred district that was to be appropriated for the new age.
Ezekiel 45:1 When you allot the land as an inheritance, you are to present to the LORD a portion of the land as a sacred district, 25,000 cubits long and 20,000 cubits wide; the entire area will be holy. 
The next part discusses about those regulations concerning weights and measures. We then read about those ordinances regarding provisions for the ordinary and extraordinary sacrifices. Ezekiel instructs about appropriate offerings to be made in the temple so that people can maintain their relationship with the LORD during appointed feasts.

Ezekiel 44

The guide then took Ezekiel to the East Gate and it was shut.
2 The LORD said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered through it.
3 The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence of the Lord. He is to enter by way of the portico of the gateway and go out the same way.”
As the glory of the LORD filled the temple, Ezekiel fell face-down. Next, Ezekiel is instructed about the regulations for the new temple, especially regarding who and how someone is to approach the Temple.
Ezekiel 44:6 Say to rebellious Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Enough of your detestable practices, people of Israel! 
Levites would have a different role in the new sanctuary. Since the Levites transgressed LORD's law by worshiping idols, their service in the sanctuary will be limited. They could not come near to serve LORD. Those functions would be carried out by Zadokies, who would be appropriately dressed. They would not shave their hair, and would not drink wine in the inner court. They would marry either a virgin or the widow of another priest.

Zadokites - the descendants of Zadok have been faithful to the LORD and received a reward - greater access to the LORD. 

Ezekiel 43

After all those measurements were done, the guide brought Ezekiel to the East Gate, and the tour was almost about to end. Ezekiel then saw something wonderful.
Ezekiel 43:2 and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.
The vision was similar to what Ezekiel saw in his very first vision, and he fell face-down. The glory of the LORD filled the temple.
Ezekiel 43:4 The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing east.
5 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.
Ezekiel heard the LORD speak from inside the temple
Ezekiel 43:7 He said: “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. The people of Israel will never again defile My Holy name - neither they nor their kings - by their prostitution and the funeral offerings for their kings at their death. 
All surrounding areas will remain Holy as well.

Next, Ezekiel is shown the new temple altar that will be consecrated by sacrificial offerings. The procedure to be followed is narrated in detail.

Ezekiel 42

Ezekiel's guide then took him to those rooms on the north and south side of the temple courtyard. This is where the priests would eat the most holy offerings - the grain offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offerings.
Ezekiel 42:13 Then he said to me, “The north and south rooms facing the temple courtyard are the priests’ rooms, where the priests who approach the LORD will eat the most holy offerings. There they will put the most holy offerings - the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings - for the place is holy.
In this chapter, Ezekiel describes the priests’ chambers, along with the dimensions of the holy mount on which the temple stood.

Ezekiel 41

Along with other places, the temple was measured and found to be 100 cubits long. The building walls also measured 100 cubits. The display of the temple was in perfect symmetry.

It also contained three parts or rooms like that of King Solomon's. Each room became narrower indicating the increasing holiness of drawing closer to special place of LORD's dwelling.

The man then took prophet Ezekiel into the inner sanctuary, which contained carved palm trees and cherubim, similar to that of King Solomon's temple.

The most Holy Place had rectangular double doors, and the man showed Ezekiel the table that was in front of the LORD.

Ezekiel 40

Chapters 40 through 48 describe the vision of Ezekiel about the new temple that is not yet built. In the climax of his book, Ezekiel shares the vision of the LORD he had in the new temple, with LORD in the midst of His people, and never departing.

Ezekiel in his vision is given a tour of the outer and inner courts of the new temple. With all the detail Ezekiel gives, it serves more than a mere blueprint. He met a man with an appearance of brass, with a linen cord and a measuring rod in his hand.
Ezekiel 40:4 The man said to me, “Son of man, look carefully and listen closely and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the people of Israel everything you see.”
A temple is described: the exact dimensions of the east, north and south gates are given. There is further description of the eight tables for the preparation of sacrifices, the chambers, and the porch.

  • The East Gate to the Outer Court
  • The Outer Court
  • The North Gate
  • The South Gate
  • The Gates to the Inner Court
  • The Rooms for Preparing Sacrifices
  • The Rooms for the Priests
  • The New Temple 

All measurements are given precisely in cubits.

Ezekiel 39

This chapter continues from the previous one. LORD will make sure His Holy name is no longer profaned and is known among nations.
Ezekiel 39:7 ‘I will make known My holy name among My people Israel. I will no longer let My holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel. 
Gog has a vast army. Their weapons will provide Israel with seven years of fuel supply.
Ezekiel 39:10 They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel. And they will plunder those who plundered them and loot those who looted them, declares the Sovereign LORD.
The slaughter and burial of the forces of Gog are described. Birds and wild animals will feast on those who are slain. The LORD will have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and restore it.
Ezekiel 39:25 Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for My holy name.
26 They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid.

Ezekiel 38

The next two chapters speak about the prophecy against Gog, prince of Rosh. A little background - Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and Gomer were the sons of Japheth, who was Noah's son. They were located in the Indo European region of the black sea. They are scheming with other nations to come together and attack Israel.
Ezekiel 38:14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it?
15 You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army.
16 You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.
The LORD is planning to intervene and execute furious judgment against Gog. The LORD will be known in the eyes of many nations.

Ezekiel 37

LORD sent Ezekiel into the midst of a valley full of dry bones. Ezekiel is then told to prophesy to those dry bones, saying ‘Hear the word of the LORD.’

As Ezekiel prophesies, the bones are joined together, and covered with flesh.
Ezekiel 37:7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.
8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then LORD asked him to prophesy so that breath may enter them.
Ezekiel 37:10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet - a vast army.
In the same way, LORD shall open up the grave and Israel shall be brought up from its grave.

Ezekiel is then commanded to write ‘Judah’ on one stick, and ‘Ephraim’ on another stick. He was then told to join those two sticks, which will become one stick in his hand. At the time of restoration, there shall be no more idolatry in Israel. David's kingdom will reign in the land given to Jacob. LORD will be in His sanctuary.

Ezekiel 36

This chapter provides hope and assurance about the future. LORD's children will soon come home, increase in number and and produce good fruits. All of that which was ruined will be rebuilt and people will settle down and LORD will help them prosper more than before.

People have shed blood due to their idolatry practices - which is their reason for dispersion and captivity.

LORD is concerned about His holy name. He wants to prove that He is Holy. He will bring His people back to the land, and at that time, all nations will witness this and know it was the hands of God the LORD. He asked Ezekiel to say so:
Ezekiel 36:22 “Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.
23 I will show the holiness of My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.
Once people return from captivity, they will be clean. LORD has a wonderful plan for those who return.
Ezekiel 36:24 For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.

My Thoughts
During the course of my life, from childhood, I have been to many unclean places. I sincerely wish LORD will cleanse me by sprinkling some of that clean water upon me, do a heart transplant so that LORD's thoughts fill my heart, then put in His Holy Spirit so that I gain some wisdom - all without going to a hospital or without having to meet any doctors.

What a transformation that would be - a complete makeover!

Ezekiel 35

Prophet Ezekiel makes a prophecy against Edom. This is because of their callous reaction to Israel's downfall. Edom was planning to make a capital out of it.
Ezekiel 35:7 I will make Mount Seir a desolate waste and cut off from it all who come and go.
Mount Seir of Idumea will be filled with the bodies of slain men, because of all those blasphemies they spoke against Israel.

Ezekiel 34

This chapter is one of those heart breaking and pivotal chapter. Sheep are the most commonly and frequently mentioned animals in the Bible. Since they are helpless when left to themselves, a shepherd with the qualities of care and compassion leads them to the appropriate locations. Both civil and religious leaders are referred to as 'shepherds' in the Bible.

Prophet Ezekiel first condemns those selfish shepherds. They have greedily, cruelly, and selfishly exploited those committed to their care. Several direct accusations are raised against them:
Ezekiel 34:3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 
The shepherds were not doing their assigned job, and in practice there was no shepherd at all. Hence the sheep have scattered and become food for wild animals who lurk around.
Ezekiel 34:5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals.
6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.
LORD has lost faith in these shepherds. He has seen their selfish performances - one that misleads everyone. Hence, LORD is going to take direct control over His sheep. He cannot afford to loose a single soul. He will be the True Good Shepherd.
Ezekiel 34:15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD.
16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
These unjust shepherds, using their power and strength, have deprived those helpless ones by trampling the pasture and muddy the clear water. Moreover, these leaders have kept the fat sheep for themselves and driven away those week sheep with their horns.
Ezekiel 34:21 Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away,
22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another.
The LORD will appoint a Good Shepherd - a new David, to take care of His sheep, so that they will dwell securely. He will get rid of those savage beasts to spread peace in the land. LORD once again confirms that He is there for them.
Ezekiel 34:31 You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign LORD.

My Thoughts
Jesus Christ is credited as the Good Shepherd who goes after that one lost sheep, leaving behind ninety nine of them.

In real life, events unfold in front of certain people because, LORD chose to show certain events to certain people.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ezekiel 33

This chapter talks about Prophet Ezekiel being called back to take up the role of watchman once again. In this role, he is commanded by LORD to speak to His people, and issue them warnings.
Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’
LORD encourages people to shun their evil ways and get on the path of righteousness.

In the second part of the chapter, Ezekiel shares his experience about hearing the news of Jerusalem's fall. A man who escaped Jerusalem came to him and said, "The city has fallen." The previous day Ezekiel's mouth was opened, so that he no longer remained silent.

Those who were left behind in Jerusalem were far from repenting; they were busy busy annexing land into their custody. The people are interested in listening to the word of the LORD, but do not want to put them into practice.
Ezekiel 33:32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.

Ezekiel 32

In the month of March of 585 BC, Prophet Ezekiel documents a lament for the Pharaoh, once the news of Jerusalem's fall reached the exiles.

Egypt is portrayed as a large threatening animal, such as a lion or a sea monster caught, slain and left exposed to the elements. All those shining lights including the sky will be darkened, and surrounding nations will shudder with terror. Egypt will be left so desolate, that its rivers shall flow smoothly.

Again in March 585 BC, Ezekiel indicated that Egypt will join other fallen nations. The final destination for the Pharaoh is discussed. LORD ordered the slain Pharaoh and his hosts to be dragged down to the lower regions of the earth. The Pharaoh will share these regions with uncircumcised tyrants and oppressors. Several countries are mentioned in the list - Assyria, Elam, Meshech, Tubal, Edom, Sidon, etc.

This concludes those seven prophecies of Prophet Ezekiel.


Ezekiel 31

In April 587 BC, Prophet Ezekiel indicated that Egypt, the great cedar tree due to her overbearing pride will fall down. In the ancient world, Egypt used to be the powerhouse and was unshakable. This prophecy regarding the downfall has serious implications in the lives of people and how they view powerful nations.
Ezekiel 31:10 ‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because the great cedar towered over the thick foliage, and because it was proud of its height,
11 I gave it into the hands of the ruler of the nations, for him to deal with according to its wickedness. I cast it aside, 
The allegory comes to a close, and LORD turns to the Pharaoh.
Ezekiel 31:18 “‘Which of the trees of Eden can be compared with you in splendor and majesty? Yet you, too, will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the earth below; you will lie among the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword.
“‘This is Pharaoh and all his hordes, declares the Sovereign LORD.’”

Ezekiel 30

Ezekiel depicts the judgement Nebuchadnezzar will execute against Egypt and her allies. The principal cities are referred to specifically. Wealth and gods that caused Egypt's pride will be put to an end at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.
Ezekiel 30:10 ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
“‘I will put an end to the hordes of Egypt
    by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.
11 He and his army - the most ruthless of nations -
    will be brought in to destroy the land.
They will draw their swords against Egypt
    and fill the land with the slain.
12 I will dry up the waters of the Nile
    and sell the land to an evil nation;
by the hand of foreigners
    I will lay waste the land and everything in it.
I the LORD have spoken.
The date regarding this prophecy is not documented.

Next, in April 587 BC, Prophet Ezekiel said that Pharaoh's army made an attempt to relieve besieged Jerusalem. However, he was defeated and his power will be further drawn out.
Ezekiel 30:24 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon and put my sword in his hand, but I will break the arms of Pharaoh, and he will groan before him like a mortally wounded man. 

Ezekiel 29

Egypt, the perennial foe of Israel, who kept them bondage for 430 years is warned next. Ezekiel chapters 29 thru 32 lists a collection of 7 prophecies. All of these are carefully dated by Prophet Ezekiel.

In January 587 BC, Prophet Ezekiel said:
The Pharaoh has been exposed to the LORD due to his pride has placed himself among the gods. The Lord will put a hook in the jaws of the Pharaoh, like a fish in the river. Nile river belongs to the LORD, and not to the Pharaoh. The Egyptians will be scattered, and restored after 40 years of captivity, but merely as a base kingdom of no importance.
Ezekiel 29:15 It will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations. 
On the New Years day in 571 BC, Prophet Ezekiel  declared that Babylon will gobble up Egypt.
Nebuchadnezzar will be given Egypt as his reward for the siege against the city of Tyre. Babylon is LORD's instrument of judgment against the nations.
Ezekiel 29:19 Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth. He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army.
20 I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me, declares the Sovereign LORD.

Ezekiel 28

The first part of the chapter is a lament for the king of Tyre, who has proclaimed, “I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas." LORD rebukes him saying he is merely a mortal who has limited wisdom. He has amassed wealth due to his skill in trading and the wealth has caused him to think and act with pride.

Since the king thinks the LORD spoke:
Ezekiel 28:6 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
“‘Because you think you are wise,
    as wise as a god,
7 I am going to bring foreigners against you,
    the most ruthless of nations;
they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom
    and pierce your shining splendor.
The chapter further explains the corrupting influence of its material wealth and beauty. The downfall and the lament for the king of Tyre is because of his pride.
Ezekiel 28:17 Your heart became proud
    on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
    because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
    I made a spectacle of you before kings.
Then, we read that Sidon will be destroyed, so that it is no longer a pricking briar to Israel. The Jews will be restored after the Babylonian captivity.

The anointed cherub mentioned in this chapter is about Lucifer.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ezekiel 27

This chapter prophesies Tyre's beauty and commercial prosperity. Ezekiel portrays the fallen pride of self-power and glory of Tyre. This is a lament that sings as though the destruction has already taken place.

The lament is described by way of a shipwreck. Then it shifts to Tyre's trading partners and exchange of merchandise. LORD despised the arrogance of this country, as the people are deceived by their wealth and they encountered a horrible death.
Ezekiel 27:33 When your merchandise went out on the seas,
    you satisfied many nations;
with your great wealth and your wares
    you enriched the kings of the earth.
34 Now you are shattered by the sea
    in the depths of the waters;
your wares and all your company
    have gone down with you.

Ezekiel 26

Ancient depiction of the fortified island city of Tyre, circa 837 BC, illustrating its walls and towers.

The message "I will bring you to a horrible end" applies to Tyre as well. Tyre rejoiced in Israel's destruction and this prompted LORD to proclaim judgement upon them. The forecast proved too true - within months, LORD sent King Nebuchadnezzar as His instrument of judgment against Tyre. Tyre was under siege for 13 years.

The walls and towers of Tyre will be destroyed, and the city and its inhabitants will be laid as waste at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. The city portrayed as trading vessel used to be a double harbor.
Ezekiel 26:21 I will bring you to a horrible end and you will be no more. You will be sought, but you will never again be found, declares the Sovereign LORD.

Ezekiel 25

This chapter pronounces LORD's judgment against the Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites and Philistines.

Ammonites will be given as a plunder to the people of the East. They will set up their camps and pitch their tents among Ammonites, and they will eat their fruit and drink their milk.

To Moab, the LORD says,
Ezekiel 25:10 I will give Moab along with the Ammonites to the people of the East as a possession, so that the Ammonites will not be remembered among the nations; 
Edom took revenge on Judah. Israel will deal with them.
Ezekiel 25:14 I will take vengeance on Edom by the hand of my people Israel, and they will deal with Edom in accordance with my anger and my wrath; they will know my vengeance, declares the Sovereign LORD.
Philistines acted in vengeance towards Judah. The LORD will destroy them.
Ezekiel 25:16 therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to stretch out my hand against the Philistines, and I will wipe out the Kerethites and destroy those remaining along the coast.

Ezekiel 24

Babylonians laid siege upon Jerusalem in January 15, 588 BC. LORD portrays Jerusalem as a cooking pot about to be emptied of it's worthless contents.

Another tragedy strikes Ezekiel - LORD causes Ezekiel's wife to die, and he is not allowed to mourn. His wife is a symbol of the Temple in Jerusalem - the "delight of his eyes".
Ezekiel 24:16 “Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears.
17 Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover your mustache and beard or eat the customary food of mourners.”
Just like Ezekiel, the people of Jerusalem not mourn when they hear about the destruction of Jerusalem. Ezekiel is a sign to the people; when a fugitive comes and tells Ezekiel the news, LORD will open his mouth, and he will no longer be silent.

Image Credit: Ted Larson

Ezekiel 23

A word of caution: The shocking language in this chapter is meant to give the reader an 'in your face' effect, with a far reaching emotional impact.

This is the parable of two sisters named Oholah (Samaria) and Oholibah (Jerusalem). Oholah means "her tent" and Oholibah means "my tent is in her" - this comes from the location of the tabernacle. Samaria is the capital of northern kingdom, while Jerusalem is the capital city of Judah. Both these sisters were married to the LORD, but they allowed themselves to be fondled in a lewd way by other nations. They have an insatiable appetite for their lovers - pagan gods.

Rather than being faithful to her husband, Oholah showed excessive love or fondness towards the Assyrians. She looked and admired the royal garments, majesty of the kingdom, military might, and was utterly love struck. In this process, she forgot her first love. Israel gave herself in adultery to the power of Assyria. She also defiled herself with the idolatry of Assyria.

LORD is depicted as a jealous husband. When the LORD saw she would not repent, He delivered her over to her lovers.
Ezekiel 23:10 They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters and killed her with the sword. She became a byword among women, and punishment was inflicted on her.
Her sister Oholibah's went much farther than her sister. Oholibah not only played the harlot with the Assyrians but also with the Babylonians as well. Rather than learning the lessons from watching her sister Oholah being destroyed and exiled by Assyria, she followed her footsteps and even took an extra step of adultery. She later turned away in disgust. LORD turned away from her.

Soon, she recalled her younger days in Egypt where her bosom was caressed and her young breasts were fondled. She then involved herself in greater immorality lusting after her lovers.
Ezekiel 23:20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
In a judgement to Oholibah, those who once practiced adultery with Oholibah will now come and destroy her. The second punishment is that LORD will turn Oholibah over to those who they turned away from disgust - the Babylonians. Since she followed her elder sister's steps, she will be required to drink from her cup.

LORD instructed Ezekiel to confront these two sisters with their detestable practices - adultery, murder, idolatry, child sacrifice, defiled LORD's sanctuary, desecrated LORD's Sabbath etc. Incense and oil, items used for worship were given away to foreigners to solicit their services.

The sisters attracted 'carefree crowd' around them, who also got them various gifts for their prostitution.
Ezekiel 23:42 The noise of a carefree crowd was around her; drunkards were brought from the desert along with men from the rabble, and they put bracelets on the wrists of the woman and her sister and beautiful crowns on their heads. 
Righteous men who were not involved with these sisters will punish them and sentence them. The 'carefree crowd' they themselves attracted will give them over to terror and plunder. They will stone them and cut them down with their swords, kill their children and burn down their house.

Ezekiel 22

People of Jerusalem are guilty of sin, and is rampant. The list of offences is so long and consists of bloodshed, oppression, extortion, bribery, defilement by idols, moral and sexual sins. All these are because they have forgotten the LORD.

LORD is so angry that He wants to gather everyone and put them into a furnace to be melted. The corruption is general, perverting prophets, priests, princes and people.

Prophets spread lies and false divination. Princes shed innocent blood. Priests profane holy things and teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean. They also shut their eyes in observing LORD's Sabbaths, so He is profaned among them. The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice.

In the midst of such comprehensive corruption, LORD is seeking for someone righteous to stand up.
Ezekiel 22:30 I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. 
He will consume them with His fiery anger.

My Thoughts
When LORD is looking for someone to stand before Him, on behalf of the land, can He count on one of us? How about we try and groom ourselves to be that one?

Ezekiel 21

Babylon is coming for judgment against the land. LORD commanded Ezekiel to sigh, cry and howl conspicuously in the presence of the people. When people ask Ezekiel why he is sighing, he is to tell them about the the heart melting news they are about to hear.
Ezekiel 21:7 And when they ask you, ‘Why are you groaning?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that is coming. Every heart will melt with fear and every hand go limp; every spirit will become faint and every leg will be wet with urine.’ It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD.
The king of Babylon is about to attack both Jews and Ammonites, for allying themselves with Egypt. He is described as standing at the junction of two roads one leading to Jerusalem and other towards Ammonites. Jerusalem will be picked as first target. Later destruction is predicted the Ammonites as well.

Ezekiel 20

This chapter narrates those historic facts. Elders of Israel came to Ezekiel to seek his counsel. LORD commanded Ezekiel to remind them of their rebellion and idolatry, in Egypt, in the wilderness and in Canaan. Bringing them out of Egypt, LORD commanded:
Ezekiel 20:18 I said to their children in the wilderness, “Do not follow the statutes of your parents or keep their laws or defile yourselves with their idols.
19 I am the LORD your God; follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws.
20 Keep My Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign between us. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.”
Though Israel has been repeating idolatry and rebellion against the LORD from the start, He will graciously transform her when she turns to Him. LORD expresses His anger towards those who practice idolatry and condemns their evil and corrupt practices. Jerusalem is represented as a forest doomed to be destroyed by fire.

All through these, LORD is assuring that He will fulfill His promise.

My Thoughts
Promise - a vow or contract we make with someone.
LORD keeps His promises, and so should we, as His children.

Ezekiel 19

This chapter is a poem - a lament for Israel's rulers. Judah is the lioness, and the kings are her cubs.

The kings of Israel are pictured as caged lions - the first one is Jehoahaz, taken to Egypt in 609 BC. The second refers to Jehoiachin who was taken captive in 597 B.C.

The Jewish nation is portrayed as a vine – it flourished, but was uprooted in fury and planted in the wilderness, in a dry, thirsty ground.

Image Credit: Ted Larson

Ezekiel 18

Our LORD is a righteous LORD, who rules justly. Contrary to the public belief, our LORD does not punish one generation for the sins of another. In this chapter, LORD rebukes such thoughts and clearly states that everybody is responsible for their own sins.

LORD's standard of righteous living is given as a mixture of ritual and social law is stated.
Ezekiel 18:5 Suppose there is a righteous man
    who does what is just and right.
6 He does not eat at the mountain shrines
    or look to the idols of Israel.
He does not defile his neighbor’s wife
    or have sexual relations with a woman during her period.
7 He does not oppress anyone,
    but returns what he took in pledge for a loan.
He does not commit robbery
    but gives his food to the hungry
    and provides clothing for the naked.
8 He does not lend to them at interest
    or take a profit from them.
He withholds his hand from doing wrong
    and judges fairly between two parties.
9 He follows my decrees
    and faithfully keeps my laws.
That man is righteous;
    he will surely live,
declares the Sovereign LORD.
He then states that the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father; neither the parent that of the son.
Ezekiel 18:20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them. 
LORD explains that a person turning over a new leaf will be saved, and one turning into a bad apple will die.  The LORD seeks the restoration of souls to righteousness.
Ezekiel 18:26 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin, they will die for it; because of the sin they have committed they will die.
27 But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life. 
Just like any other prophet, Ezekiel shares LORD's message of repentance.
Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 

Ezekiel 17

This chapter is regarding the riddle of two eagles and the vine.

A great eagle that swooped down upon Lebanon to conquer it, where the eagle cropped the top of the cedar tree. The eagle took this part of the tree and brought it to another land. The eagle also took of the seed of the conquered land and planted it in well watered fertile soil of another land that their branches would grow toward him.

A second eagle seems to have an interest in the first eagle as if it was feeding off of his land. The eagle is represented as a strong nation in a vine tree that is growing in well watered and fertile soil.
Ezekiel 17:8 It had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would produce branches, bear fruit and become a splendid vine.
The question is, “Shall this second eagle (kingdom) prosper?”

The answer is, "If the tree/eagle avoids the east winds it would."

However, the riddle reveals that it does come in contact with the east wind and therefore withers.

The first eagle is Nebuchadnezzar, who in 597 B.C., took Ezekiel, along with Jehoiachin, captive into Babylon, and Zedekiah, his uncle, was made king. The seed he planted was Zedekiah.

Zedekiah rebelled against Babylonian rule by turning to Egypt for help. Here, Egypt is the second eagle. Therefore, the vine was uprooted and destroyed by the first Eagle (Nebuchadnezzar) in 586 B.C.

Later, LORD Himself plucked the top shoot of the cedar and plants it on the mountains of Israel causing it to become a great tree with birds of every kind nesting in it, and all the trees of the field knowing the LORD planted it.
Ezekiel 17:24 All the trees of the forest will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.
“‘I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’”

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ezekiel 16

LORD asked Ezekiel to confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices. He compares the heinous crimes of Jerusalem to that of an adulterous wife.

Jerusalem is portrayed as an abandoned baby thrown into an open field, left to die by its parents - a Hittite mother and an Amorite father. She did not have all those things a loving caring parent would have done for a newborn - she did not have her navel cut, was not cleansed, and was not swaddled.

The LORD passing by saw the baby in her distress, had compassion and cared for her. He covered her naked body and made her His. He bathed and cleansed her, clothed her, adorned her with jewelry, placed a beautiful crown on her head an made her very beautiful.
Ezekiel 16:14 And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.
Jerusalem turned away from the LORD by trusting in her own beauty. She became a prostitute looking to those idols of the nations for fulfillment.  Jerusalem turned towards the occult and fertility practices of those nations surrounding her, predicating the sexual prostitution. She took those blessings which she received from the LORD and offered them to her idols.

She then offered the children born to her, through child sacrifice, as food to these same idols.

LORD is disappointed and he pours out His heart in the rest of the chapter. Ultimately, he wants to restore her, due to His greatest love.

My Thoughts
I do not have the strength to quote all what Prophet Ezekiel said in this chapter. LORD seems to be enraged. His jealous anger is all over Jerusalem. The language He uses here is quite harsh, and hence those interested can read it for themselves - tap here

Ezekiel 15

LORD compares Jerusalem to a useless vine which is only good for burning. The wood of this vine cannot be used to make furniture or housing. It's wood is so weak, in fact, it cannot even be used to make a wooden peg to hang vessels from in the house. Such a vine has only one use - to be thrown into fire for fuel and then consumed.

Since the nation is unfaithful, the LORD will set His face against them, and will cause the land to be desolate.  

Ezekiel 14

Ezekiel is met with idolatrous elders of Israel who came to him to seek the will of LORD, and LORD had just one message - repent.
Ezekiel 14:6 “Therefore say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!
The LORD wants His children to come towards Him. Those personal idols established in the lives of the captives have caused them to sin. The sins of the land were so great that LORD’s judgment was fourfold; sword, famine, wild beasts and plagues.

LORD will stretch out His hand against the guilty nation, and not listen to any intercession. Jerusalem's judgement is inescapable and the LORD makes it very clear. Nobody's righteousness can save the city.
Ezekiel 14:14 even if these three men - Noah, Daniel and Job - were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD.
These three men were considered righteous in their times and in this case LORD's wrath was so great that their righteousness could not even save their own family - but themselves.

My Thoughts
A message for any nation - if we as a nation continue to sin, all we are inviting is LORD's wrath.

It may feel like fun in the beginning, but as time progresses, we will deviate from the presence of LORD that it becomes hard to turn back. A feeling of emptiness creeps in, and those things that once used to be pleasurable will eventually become boring, making us think about LORD. At that point, even if we want to turn back, those people around us will not let us - they will do everything in their capacity to keep us prisoners there.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ezekiel 13

Continuing from last chapter, we read the condemnation of false prophets - those who were following their own spirit and the source of their inspiration was in themselves. Further, these prophets lacked the character to proclaim LORD's word at any cost. They would never take a risk to rescue people. LORD calls them jackals.
Ezekiel 13:4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins.
5 You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the LORD.
These false prophets and prophetess led people of Israel along wrong paths and therefore LORD proclaimed judgement against them.
Ezekiel 13:9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.
The peace they proclaimed was false, and the people of the land were in lies, rejecting true prophets. They tamper the scripture and Ezekiel was told to prophecy against the false prophets and prophetess, who used to ensnare people like birds. LORD declares that He would free His people from their captivity to these false prophets who have ensnared them using lies.
Ezekiel 13:22 Because you disheartened the righteous with your lies, when I had brought them no grief, and because you encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways and so save their lives,
23 therefore you will no longer see false visions or practice divination. I will save my people from your hands. And then you will know that I am the LORD.

My Thoughts
One can feel the church letting him/her down in the absence of truth. Somehow, truth and lies do not mix well - they are polar opposite. The church leaders we see, 'try' to portray a good mixture.

Today we want a 'modern church' that motivates us, improves our self confidence, at a place where we can socialize with other 'christian' families; not a house of prayer that tells us to repent, carry our cross, and humble ourselves.

Ezekiel 12

LORD warns Ezekiel that he is staying among rebellious people.
Ezekiel 12:1 The word of the LORD came to me:
2 “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.
Next, Ezekiel was chosen to be a symbol to the captives. He was told to perform a visual sign of exile. Ezekiel was to bring out his belongings during the day. At night, he was instructed to go out like those who go in exile - carrying his container of water, a sleeping mat and a bowl for food. LORD commanded him to dig through the wall of his home and carry out his belongings on his shoulder, while not looking at the ground.

This was to send a message about the exile of Jerusalem in 586 BC, and that King Zedekiah will go into captivity as a blind person.

Usually, time of eating food is supposed to be enjoyed with happiness. Ezekiel was told to be alert and signify a time of great fear.
Ezekiel 12:18 “Son of man, tremble as you eat your food, and shudder in fear as you drink your water..."
LORD then rebukes those false teachers and said that His judgement will not wait. Without any delay, He will fulfill whatever He said.
Ezekiel 12:24 For there will be no more false visions or flattering divination among the people of Israel.
25 But I the LORD will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay. For in your days, you rebellious people, I will fulfill whatever I say, declares the Sovereign LORD.’”

My Thoughts
An old error dressed in a new package is still an error.

Having eyes to see and ears to hear is one of the best gifts one can receive. Unfortunately, only a few choose to interpret the message they receive through them. 

Deception - what we think

Deception is the central theme of Ezekiel 12 - 14. It was practiced by the spiritual leaders, as well as their followers.

There is a story told about a woman who acquired a measure of wealth and for prestige reasons wanted to have her family tree traced back two hundred years. She was very status minded and felt that it would add a great deal to her social position if she could establish her family as being of 'True Blue Blood'.

So, she hired an expert in the field to find out who her great–grandparents and great-great-grandparents were. But lo and behold! The expert found that her great-grandfather had died in the electric chair for having committed a combination rape and murder. The expert discussed this delicate matter with the rich lady.

Now the lady was also a very honest woman and not one to lie. She wanted the family tree to reflect the “truth”. So the expert conceived this way out. Rather than write that great-grandfather died in an electric chair, he wrote instead, “Great-Grandfather Jones died while occupying the Chair of Applied Electricity in one of the nation’s great institutions.”

Now all of us would like to have perfect family reputations. All of us would like to come from families who have been nothing but Kings, Queens, Presidents, Secretaries of State, Philanthropists, etc. but this just probably isn’t so. Almost any individual can look back and find that he has ancestors who were less than ideal or model citizens or just plain no goods! We all have a few skeletons in our closets and no one’s is unique!

A little deception is not a bad thing - eh? Above picture is from the cover page of a 1936 popular post. The painting was by Normal Rockwell showing a woman buying Thanksgiving turkey. Pay attention to the hands of the butcher and that of the lady - he is pressing the scale down, while the woman is pushing it up with her finger. Both find pleasure in deceiving the other.

This is somewhat how our churches function as well. Many who hold leadership roles at church clothe themselves as shepherds and think they are deceiving the people. Their followers put on the clothes of innocence and 'act' as though they are following the teaching of this spiritual leader. In essence, both wind up reaching nowhere.

The Holy Scripture warns of false teachers. Ezekiel in these chapters speaks about corrupted spiritual leaders who led people astray. According to Timothy, the demand and influence of false teachers will increase before the LORD returns.
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
Today there is an itch for false teachings and such teachers are in great demand.

Ezekiel 11

In this chapter, we are told about those corrupt people of Judah - elders, priest, and governors.

The glory of the LORD took Ezekiel to the Eastern Gate, where he witnessed those leaders in Israel, the twenty-five men who were causing the people to reject LORD's words.
Ezekiel 11:2 The LORD said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who are plotting evil and giving wicked advice in this city..."
Then LORD proclaimed His judgement.
Ezekiel 11:8 You fear the sword, and the sword is what I will bring against you, declares the Sovereign LORD.
9 I will drive you out of the city and deliver you into the hands of foreigners and inflict punishment on you. 
While he was prophesying, Ezekiel witnesses the death of Pelatiah, son of Benaiah, and this caused him to lament the destruction. LORD's judgement seemed so severe. LORD responded to Ezekiel promising a day of restoration.
Ezekiel 11:18 “They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols.
19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 
The cherubim spread their wings and the Glory of the LORD was above them. They went up and stopped at the mountain east of the city. The Spirit of the LORD returned Ezekiel back to Babylon, along with exiles. His vision had ended.

My Thoughts
LORD is watching those corrupt leaders, even while they think nobody can see them. Being the Most Righteous Judge, He will deal with those leaders who encourage plotting wicked schemes and mislead people.

Ezekiel 10

Eastern Gate

Ezekiel is shown the likeness of a throne of lapis lazuli, from which the LORD addressed the man clothed in linen. He was commanded to fill his hands with burning coals of fire from among the cherubim and to scatter over Jerusalem city. The fire used to purge rebellious Jerusalem was the same fire that purified Isaiah's lips, and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

The glory of the LORD then departed the temple.
Ezekiel 10:18 Then the glory of the LORD departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. 19 While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the LORD’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
The cherubim Ezekiel saw were the same ones he witnessed in his first vision.

Notice the Eastern gate. There are eight major gates to the Old Jerusalem City. The first and most important one is the Golden Gate, or the Eastern Gate, the only external gate that gives access to the Temple Mount. According to the Bible, the Messiah would come, go through the Eastern Gate, present Himself officially as King, be rejected by the Jews, the Eastern Gate would then be closed until he returns and is accepted by the Jews.

Today this Eastern Gate is closed and has been for over a thousand years despite several attempts to reopen it.

Ezekiel 9

Ezekiel saw six men coming from the north holding weapons of slaughter in their hands. These were for punishment of His people for those abominations they performed in Jerusalem temple mentioned in chapter 8. A man clothed in linen, who had a writing kit beside him, was along with them.

Glory of the LORD moved to the threshold of the temple. LORD commanded the man clothed in linen, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.”

LORD said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.”

The six men started their job with the old men in front of the temple.

LORD said again, “Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go!”

As those killings began, Ezekiel fell face-down and interceded with the LORD, “Alas, Sovereign LORD! Are you going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel in this outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?”

LORD responded, “The sin of the people of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice. They say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land; the Lord does not see.’ So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.”

The man clothed in linen, with the writing kit returned and said, “I have done as you commanded.”

Ezekiel 8

Ezekiel documented precise dates of his visions - Sept 17, 592 BC. While sitting in his house along with elders had a second vision. The Holy Spirit carried him to the northern gates of Jerusalem Temple complex. There he observed four scenes of the all-encompassing nature of Israel's idolatry.

In his first scene, he witnessed the idol of jealousy - the one of Asherah, the Canaanite goddess of fertility. This was just the beginning. The Holy Spirit said Ezekiel will see more.
Ezekiel 8:6 And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing - the utterly detestable things the Israelites are doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable.”
In the second scene, Ezekiel was brought to the entrance of the court and commanded to enlarge a hole in the wall, so that he could view it better. It led to a doorway.
Ezekiel 8:9 And he said to me, “Go in and see the wicked and detestable things they are doing here.” 10 So I went in and looked, and I saw portrayed all over the walls all kinds of crawling things and unclean animals and all the idols of Israel. 11 In front of them stood seventy elders of Israel, and Jaazaniah son of Shaphan was standing among them. Each had a censer in his hand, and a fragrant cloud of incense was rising.
The people in there were thinking that LORD does not see them as He has forsaken the land. Those ritual abominations were not merely frivolous activities by those mockers who thought LORD was not watching the, but they had lost faith in the LORD and were desperate for divine aid from any source. Again the Holy Spirit said he will see them doing more detestable things.
Ezekiel 8:14 Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, mourning the god Tammuz. 15 He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this.”
Then Ezekiel was taken into the inner court of the house of the LORD, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. They were bowing down to the sun in the east with their backs towards the temple of the LORD.

The Holy Spirit asked Ezekiel if it was a trivial matter for them to do detestable things here, and arouse His anger. The Holy Spirit pointed out that they had 'put a branch to their nose', and said,
Ezekiel 8:18 Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.”
Temple Diagram

My Thoughts
I do not know what it means 'put a branch to their nose'.  Based on those four scenes Ezekiel saw, this was the most detestable one to the Holy Spirit. After learning about those idolatry practices performed at that time, I sometimes feel it is better, not to understand those most heinous ones. What I read so far is sufficiently abhorrent - certain evil practices are better left unexplored.

Weeping for Tammuz

Statue of Tammuz

About Tammuz
Tammuz is the Babylonian deity supposed to be referred to in Ezekiel 8:14. He is regarded as the husband, or sometimes as the son, of the goddess Ishtar, who descended to Hades every year in the fourth month, named after him,and remained there till the following spring. He is accordingly supposed to represent the spirit of the spring vegetation; and there was a period of mourning in Babylonia to mark the discontinuance of growth. It has been suggested that the fast of the Seventeenth of Tammuz was a survival in Jewish folk-lore of the mourning for Tammuz; while the myth of Adonis in classical literature has also been associated with the legend. The reference in Ezekiel to the women weeping for Tammuz certainly shows a trace of a cult in early Israel; but how far it extended it is difficult to say. W. Robertson Smith attempted to associate the Tammuz-worship with the sacrificial rites connected with "the king of the woods."

Adonis at Byblos was the Phoenician counterpart of Tammuz, or Dumuzi, the Babylonian god of pasture and flock.

Classified as a mystery cult by modern students of religion is the worship of Adonis, which became popular in Hellenistic times. Adonis was the son of Cinyras, mythical king of Byblos. He was the husband of Astarte or Ashtoreth. The legend relates that Adonis was hunting wild boar in Lebanon mountains when the animal which he was pursuing turned upon him and so gored his thigh that he died of the wound. From that time on he was mourned annually. At the time of the summer solstice, the anniversary of his death, all the women of Byblos went in a wild procession to Aphaea in the Lebanon where his temple stood. There they wept and wailed on account of his death. The river which his blood had once stained turned red to show it's sympathy with the mourners, and was thought to flow with his blood afresh. After the weeping had continued for a definite time, an image of the god was buried in the sacred temple precinct, bringing the mourning to an end. On the next day Adonis was supposed to return to life. His image was disinterred and carried back to the temple with music and dances. Wild orgies accompanied the rejoicing. In the Babylonian epics, Tammuz dies in the autumn, when vegetation withers, departs to the underworld, and is recovered by the mourning Ishtar in time to return in the springtime to the fertilized upper-world.

Mourning for Tammuz 
Tammuz was the Babylonian version of the even earlier god Dumuzi, a shepherd and farmer god who ancient hymns tell us married  the great Sumerian Queen of Heaven Inanna, daughter of the moon and sister of the sun. Inanna’s accomplishments were many.  She had stolen the tablets of wisdom from the god of wisdom himself, Enki. She was a fierce War Goddess and she was the Goddess of Love, linked in ritual and hymn with the life giving force of fertility. When Inanna and Dumuzi made love they were allowing the crops to grow, the herds and flocks to thrive and people to carry on through their children. The Sumerians did not share our embarrassment about sex and were quite explicit in using it as a religious metaphor.

- Jewish Encyclopedia.
- "Old Testament History" by Charles F. Pfeiffer.
- “The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi,” in Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer, by Diane Wolkstein and S.N. Kramer,

Ezekiel 7

LORD is no longer holding back. He is about to pour out His wrath upon those who dwell in the land. He will judge them according to their conduct and repay them for their detestable practices.
Ezekiel 7:9 I will not look on you with pity;
    I will not spare you.
I will repay you for your conduct
    and for the detestable practices among you.
Those who have obtained “wealth” and a position of “eminence” will be ruined. They look at the lust of the world and their success and achievement is brought at the expense of their souls.

Ezekiel indicates that Judah’s money - gold and silver, was their stumbling block of their iniquity. They put their trust in their wealth and it was the rock of offence that caused them to stumble in sin against the LORD. Once they saw that their money could not save them, they threw their gold and silver into the streets of the city, as if it were an unclean thing of shame.
Ezekiel 7:19 “‘They will throw their silver into the streets,
    and their gold will be treated as a thing unclean.
Their silver and gold
    will not be able to deliver them
    in the day of the LORD’s wrath.
It will not satisfy their hunger
    or fill their stomachs,
    for it has caused them to stumble into sin.
Robbers will desecrate and defile the temple. Ezekiel is told to make a chain, as a symbol of the impending captivity.

Ezekiel 6

Ezekiel is told to set his face towards the mountains where pagan Canaanites worship their idols and Israelites follow those practices in the new land. Ezekiel is to prophesy against people's flagrant idolatry practices. A destruction is about to fall upon them, from which they have no escape. Their practices have made the place desolate.
Ezekiel 6:4 Your altars will be demolished and your incense altars will be smashed; and I will slay your people in front of your idols. 5 I will lay the dead bodies of the Israelites in front of their idols, and I will scatter your bones around your altars
A fragment of population will be spared and LORD grieves due to their idolatry and lustful behavior.
Ezekiel 6:9 Then in the nations where they have been carried captive, those who escape will remember me - how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after their idols. They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done and for all their detestable practices. 
As LORD stretches out His hand, He will judge Israel due to her abominations.

My Thoughts
In matters of controversy, it could be better to set my perception to always see both sides. 

Ezekiel 5

The siege and punishment of Judah was supposed to be horrendous. LORD commanded Ezekiel to shave his head. He is told to burn a third of his hair inside the city, then he should take another third and smite with his knife, and scatter a third in the wind. Again, he is then to take some of them, put it in fire and burn. This is a symbolic way to indicate the judgment to be executed on the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

LORD is against Jerusalem and is about to inflict punishments upon them.
Ezekiel 5:9 Because of all your detestable idols, I will do to you what I have never done before and will never do again. 10 Therefore in your midst parents will eat their children, and children will eat their parents. I will inflict punishment on you and will scatter all your survivors to the winds. 
Further judgments are then enumerated more explicitly, including famine and wild beasts. LORD's anger will be avenged at a later date.

Ezekiel 4

LORD commanded Ezekiel to sketch a drawing of the city of Jerusalem under a siege on a brick. The prophet is then instructed to take an iron pan and set it between him and the city under siege.

Next, the Prophet is told to lie down on his left side for 390 days and then on his right side for 40 days as a symbolic act of the burden of both Israel and Judah’s sin.

As an indication of a famine during the siege, Ezekiel is instructed to take small amounts of food and set it beside him. Ezekiel was told to bake his bread using human excrete as fuel. The prophet object to this, as such an act would render the bread unclean - using human waste as fuel will make it stink and taste terrible.
Ezekiel 4:14 Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign LORD! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.”
LORD agreed to this idea and suggested he use cow dung instead.

My Thoughts
Notice Ezekiel saying No to the LORD. Based on my limited know-how about the Bible, this is probably the only place in the Scripture where someone is saying "No" to the LORD . Well, I mean an obedient person saying so. Ezekiel objects by saying No when it comes to defiling himself - LORD wants us to stay pure, and He will help us in that regard. 

Ezekiel 3

LORD asked Ezekiel to eat the scroll and to go speak to the people of Israel.
Ezekiel 3:3 Then He said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
The people are not going to listen to the words of Ezekiel, as they have hardened their hearts and obstinate. The LORD will therefore make Ezekiel as hard as them - his mission is to go speak to them regardless of whether they listen or not.

After seven days, his task is clear - his job is to be a watchman over God’s people. If he does not warn the wicked, and the wicked die because of their iniquity, Ezekiel is answerable to the LORD for it. If Ezekiel warns them and they do not give him heed, in that case he is not answerable. Similarly, Ezekiel is answerable if a righteousness man who commits iniquity and is not warned.