Why Will You Die, Israel? (Ezekiel 33:10-20)
“And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
“And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins. Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live.
“Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just. When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this. Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”
Jesus, the Christ of God, came to the Jews replete in all that our Father had endowed him with. In his sinlessness, he had been, from his youth, imbued with the knowledge of God’s Holy Word. He knew it intimately, for He was of it and was Himself the Word of God. He taught no foreign precepts or new idolatrous ways to worship. He taught the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible that includes Torah, as it was meant to be taught and how God’s chosen people were to apply it.
And God sent Him to Earth at a time when the fortunes of the people of Israel were at their lowest.
The nation had been broken over hundreds of years as they dedicatedly turned their back on God to pay homage to the inanimate idols of the nations that surrounded them, the very nations that God told them not to associate with because of their own idolatrous sin, heavily influenced by the sacrifice of male children and rites associated with sexual licentiousness.
The Kings of Israel and their foreign wives led them into these sins. In spite of many warnings from many of God’s prophets, neither the Kings nor the priesthood listened. God’s warnings were then accompanied by the Hebrews gradually losing to conquest all that God had so lovingly given them.
Finally, the Kings were gone, various conquerors had come and gone, their own empires eventually crumbling, until the new kid on the block (Rome) ruled most of the known, civilized world and Israel in particular. And the priesthood, as represented by the Sanhedrin (ruling within through privilege and family nepotism), had extrapolated the Word of God with hundreds of ‘special’ codicils in the form of the Babylonian Talmud. A whole library of rules within rules.
Jesus taught only from Scripture. He referred constantly to the great prophets. They came from all walks of life. And they had been the means through which God spoke to His continuously wayward and backsliding flock, specifically from the time God had delivered them from Egyptian bondage.
We, therefore, can do ought else than to treat both the Old and New Testament with equal weight and reverence.
That is no longer so, and it is sadly to our detriment and the shame of some of our’ teachers.’
For this very reason were we given the Christ in the first place.
Those, both pastoral and lay, who would have it otherwise, err, however mighty their church and in whatever capacity of worldly grandeur they serve.
Worse, they deprive their flock of true shepherds. A true shepherd feeds his sheep in healthy pasture. There are many in fine robes, speaking from the loft of pulpit in the purple of the Caesars, who have led many to the brink of the eternal pit of damnation. They may well experience the ‘glory’ of being first in it unless they themselves repent.
They are unworthy to lead and teach, and if they fail to confess their sin and repent this evil (now, for the hour is late), they themselves are lost.
My statement surely takes into account that some ‘teachers’ who hold back the full Word of God (with malice aforethought) do include some who have, with false pretense and cloaked in satanic influence, infiltrated our host to do all sorts of unGodly mischief.
I will not condemn them. Sentence of condemnation is already assured by He who knows us all.
So, what is God teaching us through Ezekiel that applies to us today?
God is teaching us, via His prophet, that the internal rot and wickedness of our conduct has almost destroyed our nations. As went Israel and the Hebrew, so passes this world.
Clearly, we are receiving all the great signs that herald the danger of our present situation. All that remains is for God to sweep this wickedness to oblivion. The Word teaches us that this will occur. We believe it so.
And oh, how well he knows our character!
He knows those who are self-righteous but not in faith through Jesus.
These are they who are and remain righteous in their own eyes and those of their contemporaries. The common factor shared is similar outlook.
Full of ‘good works’ to cement their place in the world, some enjoy ‘Facebook’ likes in the millions.
They admire celebrity because, in their own eyes and persona, they (locked into self-idolatry) are also the ‘stars’ in their own ongoing screenplay. No, not a cameo role. The full deal! They play the leading role.
What does God say?
“The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses.”
Are you listening, guys? You who don’t need God and certainly place little or no importance on confession and repentance!
Your ‘wonderful’ life’s work and public persona, aka celebrity, has no place waiting for it in the Kingdom of the Saved. Instead, your bier is to be Sheol, ‘the place of the dead in Christ’ where you are to wait until judgment.
Is that a shock to the system, or don’t you care a damn? (As in your own damnation.)
“Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die.”
Foolish ones! Can it be any clearer?
This ‘God’ that you have discarded in favor of your own is now telling you about your eternal death that, following your judgment, awaits you in Hell. A place, the opposite of Heaven, that you long ago decided was a nonsense-myth in any case.
Your amazing powers of deduction and great, towering intellect, even as seen on the streets of Portland and unto the very pinnacle of the Congress of the United States or other national Parliaments, has delivered these great truths to you.
WHAT IF YOU ARE COMPLETELY WRONG?
WHAT IF HE DOES EXIST AND THE REALIZATION HITS YOU SUDDENLY, AS YOU NEAR YOUR OWN EARTHLY DELETION?
Can you undo that done or failed to do?
“Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?”
Substitute the words, ‘O house of Israel’ with ‘O house of the Gentiles.’
God is telling us that He will save us from eternal death and damnation if, (even at the last) calling upon the name of His Christ King, confessing His power to save, you confess your sin of pride/arrogance and denial and repent.
“Again, though I say to the wicked, shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live.”
You may be too genteel to know the ways of the ‘street.’ You may then, not know of the ‘kiss.’ It is given by a street-fighter. He grabs his opponent by his ears, lowers his head suddenly, then, sweeping it up directly under the nose of his victim, the head of the assailant literally peels the nose upwards, sometimes sending a shard of bone directly into the brain.
Death can ensue immediately.
Is this reference a little uncouth?
Death, particularly violent death, is ‘uncouth.’ And that promised those of this passing world, locked within unrepentant denial, grants them nothing to look forward to.
And that includes ‘that brave new world of science/technology, co-existing under one world ever-lasting government — a type of government designed to control all humankind,’ limiting all the present freedoms given us under God, within our great social experiment of democracy.
Hell is real. It is eternal. “So help me God,” it is also violently ‘uncouth.’
Are you waiting for ‘Gentle Jesus meek and mild?’ If even you wait at all?
Sorry, friend! Did you miss it?
Were you absent when it was being spoken to or when, through the voice of the Holy Spirit, He spoke directly to you? Even so, did you deny Him even this?
Was it in that Bible Nana gave you so long ago for your first Catholic/Orthodox communion or attendance at Protestant Sunday School?
You still have it?
Oh, you think it’s with those old books in the trunk in the attic.
What a pity!
In the splendor of his innocence and purity, God sent Himself to us in human form. He came to reconcile. He came with love, healing love in both the flesh and in Spirit. And as Jesus, He gave us ultimate love and devotion: all that flesh could give and more.
You remember, don’t you, when you periodically got dragged along to an Easter Service? Those hymns, those sad, sad, hymns that told of what He suffered for us but which probably never made any lasting impression upon that we know as your ‘soul.’
He comes ‘not’ back in this guise.
(Let me repeat it.)
He is NOT coming back like this.
I speak now to the conquering King, preparing to assume his rule triumphant, as he puts his enemies down, crushed under his feet.
He comes first in the clouds very shortly to gather his ‘Bride.’ That’s us folks. We stupid fundamentalists who have believed that the Bible is a contemporaneous codex of truth containing His Holy Word to the human race.
The Word tells us that the Christ King will ‘not’ descend to the Earth at this time. This is a sudden, untimed summons known only to God. Jesus calls us, and we rise to meet him, along with those who have already died in His care and have long waited for this. Indeed, they rise immediately before we, the living, do.
Dead and living, we ascend to meet Him.
Why does He take us?
This scorned tome of mythology in which you don’t believe says that He does so to ‘spare us from the wrath that is to come.’ And that He will accomplish it in the same way that Noah was spared and Lot immediately before He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain.
Where are we going?
JESUS, THE WAY TO THE FATHER:
“Do not be worried and upset,” Jesus told them. ‘Believe in God and believe also in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am. You know the way that leads to the place where I am going'” (John 14:1-4).
We are taken up, transcended into eternal bodies as we rise and He conveys us to a place of ‘safekeeping.’
For a little while.
We, chosen to rise, will not be idle. We are to be prepared to accompany Him when He returns to again walk the Earth as King of Kings and Lord of All, Judge of all humanity. We will become part of ‘The Host.’
We will be with Him until His wrath, in God’s name, is complete and the nations are brought down to ignominy: broken, their great armies smashed along with the accoutrements of battle.
Not even nuclear weapons will prevail against Him.
His saving Grace has preserved us from the Tribulation that is to befall the world.
THE VIOLENCE OF GOD
“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”
Yet, so also say the nations of this age, as they have through the time of man: ‘I reject totally a God who is bent on destroying us. I want nothing to do with him. Indeed, what I have read about him in that cursed book contains stuff I would never want my children exposed to.’
Let me come at it from another direction.
A master tradesman or artist created an object for a client or even himself, which he constructed with the utmost care. It was to be something of great value and beauty. Alas, when finished, it suddenly, inexplicitly, developed a flaw.
It cracked or paint-mottled where the brush stroke called for lineal purity.
Looking at it from all perspectives, the tradesman/artist decided that the fault was beyond rectification and would thus always be less than he envisaged.
Does not the creator retain the right to destroy that which is not and shall never be? Particularly, if it is not to the order of his perfection as he both originally conceptualized and designed it?
The creator (in this sense) has no use for something he no longer values.
If (deep within your core being) you concede that God exists, then He does so, but not on your terms.
You cannot bring Him down to you.
He is eternal and almighty. He is existence and life personified. We, conversely, are not.
Job Loses His Children and Possessions (Job 1:20-22)
“Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, saying: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this, Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing.”
Our God is loving, and His depth of compassion for His creation (specifically us) is beyond our understanding. We will never be capable of reciprocating such love.
His compassion, love and mercy extend even to the wicked who turn from their sin in repentance, accepting the Grace of Jesus.
The wicked (all unrepentant humankind) can either freely choose to be broken and remade by our divine Creator God, or else face His just righteousness.
MY INTENDED READERS:
In no way did I prepare this commentary for those, (who saved) from their wickedness through confession/repentance, have long called upon the name of the Christ King.
As I earlier wrote, this is a deliberate’ head-butt.’ My wish is to confront unbelief.
As America prepares to elect a new president, voters are now looking aghast at what destruction of family, murder of the unborn, and removal of God from all aspects of life has wrought.
America is singularly the greatest free democracy the world has seen. And yet, the nation has witnessed its constitutional protection simply ignored as if it did not exist. I am horrified that the very senior judicial officers chosen to protect the letter of constitutional intent appear to adjudicate and rule with partisan bias.
Maybe (just maybe) the voting public has, at last, viewed a small glimpse of the ‘brave new (Godless) world’ as it will roll out.
HOW DID WE COME TO GOD?
We are they who have fallen upon the sword of our own wickedness. It thrust us through, and the wound rotted us from within. Then (as best I can describe), we experienced a spiritual epiphany: a sudden, striking realization that we were broken and lost. Worse, that we could ‘see’ what we had become and we were appalled.
It is my prayerful hope that some of those who have looked into the pit of their own soul and did not like what they saw might pause and take stock. Sin is what the Word says it is. You cannot legislate it out of existence. Nor will it remain hidden, especially from those you love.
When we accept our brokenness before God, we come, at last, willingly to Jesus. It is through Jesus and Him alone that God has made Himself reachable to the lost.
Through Jesus, the sting of death (unrepentant sin) is withdrawn from our flesh. He replaced it immediately with healing Grace. And Grace brings peace to our troubled souls.
Until transcended (taken out and risen), the sting of death through sin remains.
This is because this domain we call the World is temporarily ruled by Satan. The great tempter will never withdraw his attempts to have you think that your Grace has been taken from you. This is a great lie, and many fall for it. But God is, to those given Him, forebearing, and the yoke of Jesus Christ is light and never a burden. Satan, however, would have you believe otherwise.
God may chastise and discipline you to wake you up. That is a Father’s obligation and right as he parents his children. And take an old sinner’s word for it: the power of prayer is the means through which the Holy Spirit connects us with God.
If you think for one moment you can dropkick to score the goal of life by punting it on your own, you will come unstuck very quickly.
I notice this particularly among our youngest and brightest. When life throws them a curve ball and their dreams either do not immediately eventuate or are slow to realize, they often feel that they have nothing left but the purposeful cessation of the gift of life itself.
You may be crushed low, but the stories of those who rose from their own disasters through prayer are inspiring, to say the least.
Rest for the Weary (from denial) (Matthew 11:27-29)
All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Berean Study Bible).
YOU WISH TO HELP BUILD THAT ‘BRAVE NEW WORLD’?
Sorry, Jesus actually did so 2,000 odd years ago when He gave Himself for you. It’s known as the Kingdom, and the entry price is negligible for those who wish to live, but beyond price in finest rubies or gold to those who have chosen to remain in condemnation.
Praise the One, True, Ever-Lasting, Father.
He is triune in His triumph. Eternal Father and Creator God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and Great Counselor in and through His Holy Spirit that for now dwells within us.