FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER SIX Part V
The Six Men from Upper Gate of the North – II
“These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.” King Solomon, Proverbs 6: 16-19, N.K.J.V.
Note again the six things our God of love, power, and wisdom hates, and the seventh rounding out the rest, renders them an abomination to Him! Aren’t these, and more as we shall see revealed to prophet Ezekiel, are what precisely characterizes the times in which “we live and move and have our being”— the antitypical national and global repetition of the past sad experiences of ancient Judah and Israel!?
First, I humbly accept that which I am incapable of knowing and admitting on my own—the “True Witness’s” assessment of my spiritual condition: “Wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” Rev. 3: 14-22. In His mysterious, unconditional love for unworthy me, He did not bully, belittle, ridicule, or reject me—as carnal hearts and minds are naturally wont to do; instead, He lovingly rebukes and chastens me, as a doting but not fawning and indulgent father would the son of his loins, counseling to me to “buy from Him gold refined in the fire, that I may be rich, white garments that I may be clothed that the shame of my nakedness [of sin-guilt] may not be revealed; and anoint my eyes with eye salve [the enlightening of the Holy Spirit], that I may see,”– spiritually and intellectually —that is, “behold wondrous things out of His law.” Ps. 119: 18, K.J.V.
Who was Ezekiel?
The SDA Bible Dictionary, Commentary Reference Series, Vol. 8, art. “Ezekiel,” pp. 335-6, says:
Ezekiel is from the Hebrew Yechezqe’l, meaning, “God will strengthen.” A priest, son of Buzi, born in Judah but transported to Babylonia with the group that went into captivity with Jehoiachin in 597 B.C. (Eze. 1: 1-3). He was then about 25 years of age if “the thirtieth year” (ch. 1: 1) is a reference to his age (cf. v. 2). He was with a group of Jews settled at Tel-Abib (chs. 1: 1, 3; 3: 15) by “the river Chebar” (ch. 1; 1), an irrigation canal known from cuneiform records as Nar Kabari, which passed the city of Nippur.
Archaeological evidence testifies to a large Jewish settlement in this vicinity during the time of the Babylonian captivity.
Ezekiel was happily married, but his wife died about 9 years after their captivity began (ch. 24: 16). He seems to have had a house of his own (Eze. 3: 24; 8:1; cf. Jer. 29; 5). In the fifth year of his captivity he was called to the prophetic office. (Eze. 1; 2, 3; 2: 3), and served in this capacity for some 22 years (ch. 29: 17), from about 593 to 571 B.C.
At a time when the Temple lay in ruins and the people were in exile it was particularly appropriate that the offices of priest and prophet [such as that of Samuel, etc.] should be united in one person. Jeremiah, whose ministry was, in part, contemporary with that of Ezekiel, was likewise a priest-prophet (Jer. 1: 1), as was Zechariah, and doubtless others (Zech. 1: 1; cf. Ezra 5: 1; 6: 14; Neh. 12: 4, 16).
In a special sense, Ezekiel was God’s messenger to the Jews in captivity, as Jeremiah was to the Jews who remained in Judah and Jerusalem, and as Daniel was to Nebuchadnezzar and the court at Babylon. All 3 were divinely commissioned with the purpose of securing the divine objectives of the Captivity. Apparently Ezekiel was well liked by the people to whom he bore his inspired messages, but his mission seems to have met with limited success (Eze. 20: 49; 33: 32).”
Ezekiel Given Startling Visions Regarding: Abominations practiced in the Temple, (From Prophets & Kings by E. G. White, pp. 448-9:
“While Jeremiah continue to bear his testimony in the land of Judah, the prophet Ezekiel was raised up from among the captives in Babylon, to warn and to comfort the exiles , and also to confirm the word of the Lord that was being spoken to Jeremiah [“And the spirit of the prophets are subject to the prophets.”1 Cor. 14: 32]. During the years that remained of Zedekiah’s reign, Ezekiel made very plain the folly of trusting to the false predictions of those who were causing the captives to hope for an early return to Jerusalem. He was also instructed to foretell, by means of a variety of symbols and solemn messages, the siege and utter destruction of Jerusalem.
“In the sixth year of the reign of Zedekiah, the Lord revealed to Ezekiel in vision some of the abominations being practiced in Jerusalem, and within the gate of the Lord’s house, and even in the inner court! The chambers of images, and the pictured idols, ‘every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel’ [Eze. 8: 10]—all these in rapid succession passed before the astonished gaze of the prophet.
“Those who should have been spiritual leaders among the people, ‘the ancients of the house of Israel’ to the number of seventy, were seen offering incense before idolatrous representations that had been introduced into hidden chambers within the sacred precints of the temple court. ‘The Lord seeth us not,’ the men of Judah flattered themselves as they engaged in their heathenish practices; ‘the Lord hath forsaken the earth,’ [Eze. 8: 11, 12], they blasphemously declared.
Q. What were the greater abominations that the women and the religious leaders were secretly conducting, forgetting that God is omniscient and omnipresent?
A. The women were weeping for Tammuz, and the leaders were worshipping the sun—both idolatrous abominable practices being sun worship in different forms
“There were still ‘greater abominations’ for the prophet to behold. At a gate leading from the outer to the inner court he was shown ‘women weeping for Tammuz;’ and within ‘the inner court of the Lord’s house . . . .at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the alter, were about five and twenty men [25 men], with their backs toward the temple, and their faces toward the east; and theyworshipped the sun toward the east.’ [Eze. 8: 13-16
NOTE: Being a self-taught musician of sorts, I used to sing, compose, arrange, and play the guitar, drums, and keyboards during my halcyon days. One religious song that caught my ear early on with its catchy tune, even while not in the Lord, was the song “Let us Break Bread Together on Our Knees.” But much later in life, after studying the sanctuary doctrine carefully (even up to now), I just had to cease singing and playing the song. Here’s why—the lyrics say: “Let us break bread together on our knees (2X), When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, O Lord have mercy on me.” That did it. Sun worship was the greatest abomination of ancient false worship of the heathen and the downfall of God’s chosen people. And the day of the sun will be the final apostate form of worship and test of mankind. It’s as simple, deceiving, and deadly as that!
“And now the glorious Being who accompanied Ezekiel throughout this astonishing vision ofwickedness in high places [see Eph. 6: 12] in the land of Judah, inquired of the prophet: ‘Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence [so this is the underlying cause of all the violence in the nations and lands!], and have returned to provoke Me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eyes shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.’ [Eze. 8: 17, 18].
“Through Jeremiah the Lord had declared of the wicked men [apostate religious leaders] who presumptuously dared to stand before the people in His name!: ‘Both [false] prophet and priest are profane; yea, in My house have I found their wickedness’ [Jer. 23: 11]. In the terrible arraignment of Judah as recorded in the closing narrative of the chronicler of Zedekiah’s reign, this charge of violating the sanctity of the temple was repeated. “Moreover,’ the sacred writer declared, ‘all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the Lord which He had hollowed in Jerusalem.’ [2 Chron. 36: 14].
“The day of doom for the kingdom of Judah was fast approaching. No longer could the Lord set before them the hope of averting the severest of His judgments. ‘Should ye be utterly punished?’ He inquired. ‘Ye shall not be unpunished.’ Jer. 25: 29.
“Even these words were received with mocking derision [as did the antediluvians at Noah’s warnings!] ‘The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth,’ declared the impenitent. [compare to 2 Pet. 3: 3-12; 1 Thess. 5: 1-3].
“But through Ezekiel this denial of the sure word of prophecy [2 Pet.1 19-21] was sternly rebuked.‘Tell them,’ the Lord declared, ‘I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel> For I am the Lord: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord God.
“’Again, ‘testifies Ezekiel, ‘the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore says unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; there shall none of My words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord God.’ Eze. 12: 21-28.
“Foremost among those who were rapidly leading the nation to ruin, was Zedekiah their king. Forsaking utterly the counsels of the Lord as given through the prophets, forgetting the debt of gratitude he owed Nebuchadnezzar, violating his solemn oath of allegiance taken in the name of the Lord God of Israel, Judah’s king rebelled against the prophets, against his benefactor, and against his God. In the vanity of his own wisdom he turned for help to the ancient enemy of Israel’s prosperity, ‘sending his ambassage into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people.’
‘Shall he prosper?’ the Lord inquired concerning the one who had thus basely betrayed every sacred trust; ‘shall he escape that doeth such things? Or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered? As I live, saith the Lord God, surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he brake, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die. Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war: . . . seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand, and hath done all these things, he shall not escape.’ Eze. 17: 15-18.
Overturn, Overturn, Overturn. – “To the ‘profane wicked prince’ had come the day of final reckoning. ‘Remove the diadem,’ the Lord decreed, ‘and take off the crown.’ Not until Christ Himself should set up His kingdom, was Judah again to be permitted to have a king. ‘I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it,’ was the divine edict concerning the throne of the house of David; ‘and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it to Him.’ Eze. 21: 25-27.” –Prophets & Kings, pp. 450-451.
“The kingdom was then subject to Babylon. When Babylon fell, and Medo-Persia succeeded, it was overturned the first time. When Medo-Persia fell, and was succeeded by Grecia, it was overturned the second time. When the Greek empire gave way to Rome, it was overturned the third time. And then says the word, ‘It shall be no more, until He come, whose right it is; and I will give it to Him.’ Who is He whose right it is? —‘Thou . . . shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and He shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.’ Luke 1: 31-33.” – Appendix, Note 11. Page 603, par. 4, “Patriarchs & Prophets,” p. 762.
(To be continued next week)