Eze 11: "Judgment is threatened against the elders of the
Jerusalem ecclesia, and grace is extended to those obedient in exile. The
transgression of the leaders is proclaimed and the impending judgment is
revealed. But blended with severity is God's goodness, and provision is made for
the redemption of the faithful remnant in the Age to come. That done, and the
Glory leaves the city. Ezekiel is taken to the east gate of Yahweh's house (v
1), the very area to which the Lord Jesus came after leaving the Upper Room in
Jerusalem, and from the eastern gate he offered the prayer of John 17. Within
the city of Jerusalem in Ezekiel's day as well as those of the Lord, the elders
were conspiring. Their message was rejected, as the clarity of the Truth is
often rejected by those seeking for personal prestige within the company of the
believers. Therefore, (1) Ezekiel spoke against the men who devise mischief: vv
1-3, and then (2) pronounced a parable against the leaders: vv 4-12. He took up
their mocking refrain and answers accordingly. Yahweh's favourites were those
whose death the elders had caused. Meanwhile, they would not have privilege of
dying in the city. Then comes: (3) Ezekiel's fear: v 13. He sees the death
throes of the ecclesia in Jerusalem. The ch closes with (4) Yahweh's assurance
of divine righteousness: vv 14-21; and (5) The glory leaves the temple: vv
22-25. The sad vision upholds God's righteousness, and Ezekiel is brought back
in spirit to his place of exile" (GEM).
LEADERS OF THE PEOPLE: "Princes of the people" (AV).
Ironic: not "princes of the sanctuary", as Isa 43:28, nor "of the priests", as
in 2Ch 36:14. But simply princes "of the PEOPLE", to whom they
WILL IT NOT SOON BE TIME TO BUILD HOUSES?: Or, as NIV
mg, "This is not the time to build houses." Israel should be building houses in
Babylonia, not in Israel (Jer 29:5,28).
The KJV has: "It is not near!" -- which by itself is
ambiguous, but may mean: 'God's judgments are not near!' If this is accurate,
then it may indicate that those left in Jerusalem had no conception of the evil
that they were involved in, nor the immediacy of Yahweh's intervention to
vindicate His name. Leen Ritmeyer, when commenting on his archaeological finds
in Jerusalem, says that the leaders in Jerusalem were still renovating and
spending vast amounts of money on their houses at the time the Romans were
besieging the city. It seems that in minute detail the Roman overthrow mirrors
the Babylonian invasion.
THIS CITY IS A COOKING POT, AND WE ARE THE MEAT: Cp
modern proverb: "out of the frying pan, and into the fire." Better to remain in
city and prepare its defenses. But Ezekiel says there is no real defense; they
will be scattered (vv 7-9).
A COOKING POT: This idea of the pot and the cauldron
draws on the language of the children of Israel when they first went into the
wilderness, and complained that they wished to be back with the fleshpots of
Egypt (Exo 16:3). The two words (for "cooking pot" and meat") occur together 5
times in scripture -- in Exo 16:3; Eze 11:3,7,11, and finally in Mic 3:3:
speaking figuratively of the final destruction.
YOU WILL FALL BY THE SWORD: Certain leaders were later
executed at Riblah: 2Ki 25:18-21.
Cp Luk 21:24: "They will fall by the sword and will be taken
as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles
until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled."
BLOOD RELATIVES: "Gaalim" = "redemption-men". God says
to Ezekiel, "Fret not for the priesthood; your true relatives -- for whom you
will act as kinsman-redeemer -- are those of the Dispersion." Natural kinship --
ie with the priests -- means nothing.
THEY ARE FAR AWAY FROM THE LORD: Contrary to Jeremiah's
parable (Jer 24), the Jews left in the Land considered themselves the GOOD
THE LAND WAS GIVEN TO US AS OUR POSSESSION: The
materialistic concept that possession of the Land is all-important: ct v
FOR A LITTLE WHILE I HAVE BEEN A SANCTUARY: Thus
implying an imminent return.
The Cherubim of the Glory of God is seen departing from the
Temple and its precincts, in several stages: (1) "Now the glory of the God of
Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been [that is, in the Most
Holy Place], and moved to the threshold of the temple" (Eze 9:3). (2) "Then the
glory of the LORD rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the
temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of
the glory of the LORD" (Eze 10:4). (3) "Then the glory of the LORD departed from
over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. 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 to the east gate
of the LORD'S house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them" (Eze
10:18,19). (4) "The glory of the LORD went up from within the city and stopped
above the mountain east of it" (Eze 11:23). This, apparently, is the last time
the Glory of God was seen in Ezekiel's day. Thus, in preparation for the
judgments soon to fall on the city, Yahweh was -- by stages -- removing the
Glory of His Presence from the doomed city. The stages of removal, and the
intervening periods of waiting, were surely intended to offer a final witness to
The final time Ezekiel sees this Glory is in his vision of the
restoration: "The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing
east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the
glory of the LORD filled the temple" (Eze 43:4,5).
It is remarkable that, 600 years later, when the Lord Jesus
Christ (who was the Glory of Yahweh in human form: John 1:14; 17:6,22) addressed
his farewell to the city of Jerusalem, he said: "Look, your house is left to you
desolate" (Mat 23:38). The glory was departing from Israel, again, in
anticipation of another destruction of a city and a temple which had turned its
back on its God. And this it did, in reality, when Jesus took his leave from his
disciples and was taken up from the Mount of Olives, on the east side of the
city (Acts 1:9; cp Eze 11:23).
But, of course, as with the final vision seen by Ezekiel in
Eze 43 -- the Glory embodied in Jesus Christ will also return to its city in the
Last Days: "This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come
back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). "Then the
LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of
battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of
Jerusalem..." (Zec 14:3,4).