|Exekiel chs. 11 to 15|
The Book of Ezekiel
Chapters 16 to 20
The following chapter (Ezekiel 18) has little directly connected to Israelite national identity.
It does however contain moral and philosophical directions of great importance.
[Ezekiel 18:1] THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME UNTO ME AGAIN, SAYING,
[Ezekiel 18:2] WHAT MEAN YE, THAT YE USE THIS PROVERB CONCERNING THE LAND OF ISRAEL, SAYING, THE FATHERS HAVE EATEN SOUR GRAPES, AND THE CHILDREN'S TEETH ARE SET ON EDGE?
[Ezekiel 18:3] AS I LIVE, SAITH THE LORD GOD, YE SHALL NOT HAVE OCCASION ANY MORE TO USE THIS PROVERB IN ISRAEL.
[Ezekiel 18:4] BEHOLD, ALL SOULS ARE MINE; AS THE SOUL OF THE FATHER, SO ALSO THE SOUL OF THE SON IS MINE: THE SOUL THAT SINNETH, IT SHALL DIE.
[Ezekiel 18:5] BUT IF A MAN BE JUST, AND DO THAT WHICH IS LAWFUL AND RIGHT,
Exekiel is saying that we cannot always blame our parents or upbringing or environment for our faults. Sometime, we have to break away from the negative inhibitions that constrict us that we have grown up with or placed ourselves in.
We can be good and being good is for our own good.
[Ezekiel 18:6] AND HATH NOT EATEN UPON THE MOUNTAINS, NEITHER HATH LIFTED UP HIS EYES TO THE IDOLS OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, NEITHER HATH DEFILED HIS NEIGHBOUR'S WIFE, NEITHER HATH COME NEAR TO A MENSTRUOUS WOMAN,
<<THE IDOLS OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL: We have to free ourselves from the negative influences imposed upon us by our own society. We should open our eyes to our own faults and those of our own people.
[Ezekiel 18:7] AND HATH NOT OPPRESSED ANY, BUT HATH RESTORED TO THE DEBTOR HIS PLEDGE, HATH SPOILED NONE BY VIOLENCE, HATH GIVEN HIS BREAD TO THE HUNGRY, AND HATH COVERED THE NAKED WITH A GARMENT;
<<THE DEBTOR HIS PLEDGE: Being in debt can break a person, ruin his self-respect and disrupt his family and whole existence. When other people are in debt to us we should be careful not to go against the will of God.
[Ezekiel 18:8] HE THAT HATH NOT GIVEN FORTH UPON USURY, NEITHER HATH TAKEN ANY INCREASE, THAT HATH WITHDRAWN HIS HAND FROM INIQUITY, HATH EXECUTED TRUE JUDGMENT BETWEEN MAN AND MAN,
[Ezekiel 18:9] HATH WALKED IN MY STATUTES, AND HATH KEPT MY JUDGMENTS, TO DEAL TRULY; HE IS JUST, HE SHALL SURELY LIVE, SAITH THE LORD GOD.
<<HE SHALL SURELY LIVE: do the will of God and God will help you.
[Ezekiel 18:10] IF HE BEGET A SON THAT IS A ROBBER, A SHEDDER OF BLOOD, AND THAT DOETH THE LIKE TO ANY ONE OF THESE THINGS,
We have an obligation to educate our children as well as we can to go in the right path. We may fail however, and not necessarily through any fault of our own. Again, we all have to take responsibility for ourselves at some stage and should avoid consciously or sub-consciously putting the blame on others. Some people go to psychiatrists and so on to solve their problems. We all must do what we can. I personally work out in a gym. It keeps me healthy, helps me release superfluous tensions and negative energies, and enables me to function well on behalf of Brit-Am.
<EVERY PURPOSE IS ESTABLISHED BY COUNSEL: AND WITH GOOD ADVICE MAKE WAR [Proverbs 20:18] . The word translated as "GOOD ADVICE" in Hebrew is "tachbulot" i.e. stratagems: Do what you can, to do the best you can, however you can.
[Ezekiel 18:11] AND THAT DOETH NOT ANY OF THOSE DUTIES, BUT EVEN HATH EATEN UPON THE MOUNTAINS, AND DEFILED HIS NEIGHBOUR'S WIFE,
[Ezekiel 18:12] HATH OPPRESSED THE POOR AND NEEDY, HATH SPOILED BY VIOLENCE, HATH NOT RESTORED THE PLEDGE, AND HATH LIFTED UP HIS EYES TO THE IDOLS, HATH COMMITTED ABOMINATION,
[Ezekiel 18:13] HATH GIVEN FORTH UPON USURY, AND HATH TAKEN INCREASE: SHALL HE THEN LIVE" HE SHALL NOT LIVE: HE HATH DONE ALL THESE ABOMINATIONS; HE SHALL SURELY DIE; HIS BLOOD SHALL BE UPON HIM.
[Ezekiel 18:14] NOW, LO, IF HE BEGET A SON, THAT SEETH ALL HIS FATHER'S SINS WHICH HE HATH DONE, AND CONSIDERETH, AND DOETH NOT SUCH LIKE,
[Ezekiel 18:15] THAT HATH NOT EATEN UPON THE MOUNTAINS, NEITHER HATH LIFTED UP HIS EYES TO THE IDOLS OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, HATH NOT DEFILED HIS NEIGHBOUR'S WIFE,
[Ezekiel 18:16] NEITHER HATH OPPRESSED ANY, HATH NOT WITHHOLDEN THE PLEDGE, NEITHER HATH SPOILED BY VIOLENCE, BUT HATH GIVEN HIS BREAD TO THE HUNGRY, AND HATH COVERED THE NAKED WITH A GARMENT,
[Ezekiel 18:17] THAT HATH TAKEN OFF HIS HAND FROM THE POOR, THAT HATH NOT RECEIVED USURY NOR INCREASE, HATH EXECUTED MY JUDGMENTS, HATH WALKED IN MY STATUTES; HE SHALL NOT DIE FOR THE INIQUITY OF HIS FATHER, HE SHALL SURELY LIVE.
Even if your parents were bad people, you can still make things better and are obligated to do so.
[Ezekiel 18:18] AS FOR HIS FATHER, BECAUSE HE CRUELLY OPPRESSED, SPOILED HIS BROTHER BY VIOLENCE, AND DID THAT WHICH IS NOT GOOD AMONG HIS PEOPLE, LO, EVEN HE SHALL DIE IN HIS INIQUITY.
<<SPOILED HIS BROTHER BY VIOLENCE: This expression encompasses two principles: 1. We should respect our family and kin, country and people. 2. Avoid violence as much as possible. I had a trainer once who used to say, "Nobody really wins in a fight".
[Ezekiel 18:19] YET SAY YE, WHY" DOTH NOT THE SON BEAR THE INIQUITY OF THE FATHER" WHEN THE SON HATH DONE THAT WHICH IS LAWFUL AND RIGHT, AND HATH KEPT ALL MY STATUTES, AND HATH DONE THEM, HE SHALL SURELY LIVE.
[Ezekiel 18:20] THE SOUL THAT SINNETH, IT SHALL DIE. THE SON SHALL NOT BEAR THE INIQUITY OF THE FATHER, NEITHER SHALL THE FATHER BEAR THE INIQUITY OF THE SON: THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL BE UPON HIM, AND THE WICKEDNESS OF THE WICKED SHALL BE UPON HIM.
[Ezekiel 18:21] BUT IF THE WICKED WILL TURN FROM ALL HIS SINS THAT HE HATH COMMITTED, AND KEEP ALL MY STATUTES, AND DO THAT WHICH IS LAWFUL AND RIGHT, HE SHALL SURELY LIVE, HE SHALL NOT DIE.
[Ezekiel 18:22] ALL HIS TRANSGRESSIONS THAT HE HATH COMMITTED, THEY SHALL NOT BE MENTIONED UNTO HIM: IN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT HE HATH DONE HE SHALL LIVE.
[Ezekiel 18:23] HAVE I ANY PLEASURE AT ALL THAT THE WICKED SHOULD DIE" SAITH THE LORD GOD: AND NOT THAT HE SHOULD RETURN FROM HIS WAYS, AND LIVE"
[Ezekiel 18:24] BUT WHEN THE RIGHTEOUS TURNETH AWAY FROM HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND COMMITTETH INIQUITY, AND DOETH ACCORDING TO ALL THE ABOMINATIONS THAT THE WICKED MAN DOETH, SHALL HE LIVE" ALL HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT HE HATH DONE SHALL NOT BE MENTIONED: IN HIS TRESPASS THAT HE HATH TRESPASSED, AND IN HIS SIN THAT HE HATH SINNED, IN THEM SHALL HE DIE.
[Ezekiel 18:25] YET YE SAY, THE WAY OF THE LORD IS NOT EQUAL. HEAR NOW, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL; IS NOT MY WAY EQUAL" ARE NOT YOUR WAYS UNEQUAL"
[Ezekiel 18:26] WHEN A RIGHTEOUS MAN TURNETH AWAY FROM HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND COMMITTETH INIQUITY, AND DIETH IN THEM; FOR HIS INIQUITY THAT HE HATH DONE SHALL HE DIE.
[Ezekiel 18:27] AGAIN, WHEN THE WICKED MAN TURNETH AWAY FROM HIS WICKEDNESS THAT HE HATH COMMITTED, AND DOETH THAT WHICH IS LAWFUL AND RIGHT, HE SHALL SAVE HIS SOUL ALIVE.
[Ezekiel 18:28] BECAUSE HE CONSIDERETH, AND TURNETH AWAY FROM ALL HIS TRANSGRESSIONS THAT HE HATH COMMITTED, HE SHALL SURELY LIVE, HE SHALL NOT DIE.
[Ezekiel 18:29] YET SAITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, THE WAY OF THE LORD IS NOT EQUAL. O HOUSE OF ISRAEL, ARE NOT MY WAYS EQUAL? ARE NOT YOUR WAYS UNEQUAL?
[Ezekiel 18:30] THEREFORE I WILL JUDGE YOU, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL, EVERY ONE ACCORDING TO HIS WAYS, SAITH THE LORD GOD. REPENT, AND TURN YOURSELVES FROM ALL YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS; SO INIQUITY SHALL NOT BE YOUR RUIN.
[Ezekiel 18:31] CAST AWAY FROM YOU ALL YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS, WHEREBY YE HAVE TRANSGRESSED; AND MAKE YOU A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT: FOR WHY WILL YE DIE, O HOUSE OF ISRAE?
<<WHY WILL YE DIE, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL?: Another important principle is found here: The individual is responsible not only for himself but for his whole nation. By reforming ourselves on the individual level we can elevate the whole House of Israel. Everyone should consider himself/herself like a soldier in the front line. The salvation of the whole hHouse of Israel may be dependent upon our individual behavior.
[Ezekiel 18:32] FOR I HAVE NO PLEASURE IN THE DEATH OF HIM THAT DIETH, SAITH THE LORD GOD: WHEREFORE TURN YOURSELVES, AND LIVE YE.
God wants our good. The need to do good is for our own good.
[Ezekiel 19:1] MOREOVER TAKE THOU UP A LAMENTATION FOR THE PRINCES
<THE PRINCES OF ISRAEL: Some commentators understood Ezekiel, according to the simple meaning, to be referring to the Kings of Judah who ruled in his own time just before and during the exile of the people of Judah to Babylon. Incidentally, "Babylon" refers to the whole area of Lower Mesopotamia not just to the Metropolis known as "Babylon".
Regarding "princes" and "nobility" in general: Each tribe had princes set up over it. In addition people were elevated to high positions, the kings of Judah and Israel had numerous wives and younger sons, and so on. All of these tended to form a class of aristocracy. The aristocracy is important in Britain. In the USA many of the Presidents and important families also somewhere have aristocratic connections. Maybe these are all the natural leaders of Israel" Maybe their origins go back to the "Princes of Israel"" Many people like to think that they have aristocratic origins, and maybe they do. On the other hand, even in Britain and Europe in the old days, there were always people who came up from below through sheer merit and determination. Some Israelite Tribes were always more egalitarian than others.
In Europe the Saxons were divided into several groups. The Saxons who went to England were different from those who remained on the Continent. I now think that those Saxons who remained on the Continent comprised the ancestors of many of the migrants who later moved from Germany to North America. They were known as the "Old Saxons". The English Saxons had Kings, whereas the "Old Saxons" did not. The "Old Saxons", however, did have a nobility and marriage outside of their own class was forbidden. The Anglo-Saxons also, before moving to England "while they were still in Germany, forbade marriage outside of their own people.
The Scythian nations before they moved westward were also ruled by kings who intermarried amongst each other and were all related. They were also linked with the rulers of the Parthians, Khazars, and Goths.
Adapted from "Ephraim" by Yair Davidi, chapter six:
THE HOUSE OF DAVID AND THE LOST TRIBES
After exhorting the exiled Israelites to leave a traceable path of "dolmens", Jeremiah (chapter 31) continues and describes how Judah (i.e. the Jews) will also be re established. A New Covenant will be made between God and the Houses of Israel and Judah. This Covenant will entail a change of nature and will be set in the heart so that the will of God will be instinctively known and performed:
Jeremiah ch.33;14 "..THE DAYS COME.THAT I WILL PERFORM THAT GOOD THING WHICH I HAVE PROMISED UNTO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND TO THE HOUSE OF JUDAH.
33;15 "IN THOSE DAYS.. WILL I CAUSE THE BRANCH OF RIGHTEOUSNESS TO GROW UP INTO DAVID; AND HE SHALL EXECUTE JUDGEMENT AND RIGHTEOUSNESS IN THE LAND.
33;17 "...DAVID SHALL NEVER WANT A MAN TO SIT UPON THE THRONE OF ISRAEL.
DAVID had numerous sons. Solomon the son of David had 300 wives and 700 concubines and children were borne to him. Most of the kings of the House of David had several children each of whom also would have raised a family of his own. It follows that numerous offspring on the male side must have belonged to the House of David. Descent through the male is what Scripture, strictly speaking, requires in order for the descendants to call themselves by the House of their (male) ancestor even though, in Jewish Law, anyone borne of a Jewish mother is considered Jewish. The House of David reigned in Judah and quite a few families amongst the present day Jews trace themselves back to David. The Jewish Biblical Commentators Rashi (1040 1105) and Abarbanel (1435-1508), the family of Dayan in Spain and Syria as well as the Maharal (1512-1609) and many other famous Rabbinical scholars were descended from King David. A good number of Jews should be able today to trace themselves back to King David. Apart from descendants of David who are to be found amongst the modern Jews there are others. Numerous people from the Tribe of Judah were also exiled together with the Lost Ten Tribes. The Sons of David had once been appointed as administrators over all Israel (2-Samuel 8;18). Later members of the House of David had intermarried with leaders of the Northern Kingdom and passed over to live in those areas. In this and other ways descendants of David must have penetrated the ranks of the exiled Israelites. An Aramaic inscription mentions a "House of David" somehow in connection with Dan in the Galilee. There was a Judaean entity known as Yadi in southeast Turkey which was attached to Judah in the south, "he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel" (2-Kings 14;28). The rulers of Yadi had Hebrew names like Gabbar, Bamah, Hayya, Saul, and represented a minor branch of the House of David. The people of Yadi disappeared together with the northern Ten Tribed Kingdom of Israel.
Part of the Lost Ten Tribes became known as the Sakae or Scythians. The Sacae-Scythians once had an independent kingdom named "Sakastan" in eastern Iran. The ruling dynasty of Sakastan believed itself descended from King Solomon the son of David25. In Iberia (Georgia in the Caucasus in southern Russia), which also belonged to the Scythians there was too, a dynasty (related to the Arsacid Kings of Parthia) that traced itself back to David26 as well as to a mythical "Angl Tork". The ruling houses of the Sakae Scythians in Sakastan and Scythia appear to have been interrelated and had familial connections with the monarchs of the Guti (Goths) and Parthians and they with each other27. It follows that these too at least in part may well have been descended from David28. From these monarchic and aristocratic lines came the early kings of Scandinavia, of the Franks, and of the Anglo Saxons.
Enthusiasts in the past have adduced all kinds of genealogical permutations in order to prove that the reigning house of Britain is descended from an eastern princess named Tea Tephi (presumed daughter of Zedekiah, king of Judah of the House of David) who married an Irish king, whose descendants moved to Scotland and from there they eventually inherited the English Throne. It may not be necessary to go back so far in such an involved way to make the same point, and anyway the male line is what counts. Another fount of the Davidic line penetrated West European nobility via France! There was once a semi-autonomous Principality in Narbonne (southern France) described by Arthur J. Zuckerman (A Jewish Princedom in Feudal France, 768-900, New York, 1972). It was ruled by a Jewish Prince of the House of David whose offspring intermarried with the aristocracy and Royal Line of France and these with that of Normandy, Scotland, and England. Amongst the Welsh, Scottish, English, and other groups in Europe there were families who believed they descended from King David of Judah.
It therefore follows, that (theoretically at least) present-day descendants of David may be extremely numerous. Compare this possibility with the following verse:
Jeremiah 33;22 "AS THE HOST OF HEAVEN CANNOT BE NUMBERED, NEITHER THE SAND OF THE SEA MEASURED: SO WILL I MULTIPLY THE SEED OF DAVID MY SERVANT, AND THE LEVITES THAT MINISTER UNTO ME.....
David was promised that the Rulership over Israel (or at least part of it) would come from him:
JEREMIAH 33;25 "....IF MY COVENANT BE NOT WITH DAY AND NIGHT, IF I HAVE NOT APPOINTED THE ORDINANCES OF HEAVEN AND EARTH;
33;26 "THEN WILL I CAST AWAY THE SEED OF JACOB, AND DAVID MY SERVANT, SO THAT I WILL NOT TAKE OF HIS SEED TO BE RULERS OVER THE SEED OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB: FOR I WILL CAUSE THEIR CAPTIVITY TO RETURN, AND HAVE MERCY ON THEM.
Literally speaking, the promises to David and to the Levites do not necessarily mean that they will always have rulers and ministers over the Houses of Israel. Rather, the Biblical promises may be understood to state that descendants of David and Levi will always be available to fulfill their ancestral functions whenever the Promised Messianic Order shall be instituted or whenever the Children of Israel are worthy.
Even so, it may be that many of the Rulers over the exiled Israelites and those who ministered to them in Britain, America, and elsewhere are (and were) descended from the Houses of David and Levi.
Returning to Ezekiel, chapter 19:
[Ezekiel 19:2] AND SAY, WHAT IS THY MOTHER" A LIONESS: SHE LAY DOWN AMONG LIONS, SHE NOURISHED HER WHELPS AMONG YOUNG LIONS.
[Ezekiel 19:3] AND SHE BROUGHT UP ONE OF HER WHELPS: IT BECAME A YOUNG LION, AND IT LEARNED TO CATCH THE PREY; IT DEVOURED MEN.
[Ezekiel 19:4] THE NATIONS ALSO HEARD OF HIM; HE WAS TAKEN IN THEIR PIT, AND THEY BROUGHT HIM WITH CHAINS UNTO THE LAND OF EGYPT.
[Ezekiel 19:5] NOW WHEN SHE SAW THAT SHE HAD WAITED, AND HER HOPE WAS LOST, THEN SHE TOOK ANOTHER OF HER WHELPS, AND MADE HIM A YOUNG LION.
[Ezekiel 19:6] AND HE WENT UP AND DOWN AMONG THE LIONS, HE BECAME A YOUNG LION, AND LEARNED TO CATCH THE PREY, AND DEVOURED MEN.
[Ezekiel 19:7] AND HE KNEW THEIR DESOLATE PALACES, AND HE LAID WASTE THEIR CITIES; AND THE LAND WAS DESOLATE, AND THE FULNESS THEREOF, BY THE NOISE OF HIS ROARING.
[Ezekiel 19:8] THEN THE NATIONS SET AGAINST HIM ON EVERY SIDE FROM THE PROVINCES, AND SPREAD THEIR NET OVER HIM: HE WAS TAKEN IN THEIR PIT.
[Ezekiel 19:9] AND THEY PUT HIM IN WARD IN CHAINS, AND BROUGHT HIM TO THE KING OF BABYLON: THEY BROUGHT HIM INTO HOLDS, THAT HIS VOICE SHOULD NO MORE BE HEARD UPON THE MOUNTAINS OF ISRAEL.
The Parable is of a mother-lioness representing Israel when it was united under King Solomon. The Kingdom divided into two represented by two young lions who misbehaved. The first lion was taken away to Egypt. This represents the Lost Ten Tribes who were taken away mainly to Assyria but also to Egypt. An exile of a portion of the Ten Tribes to "Egypt" is hinted at several times in Scripture. More work needs to be done on this issue. In addition, in Hebrew "Egypt" is "Mitsrayim". The term "Mitsrayim" usually refers to "Egypt" but not always so. It could also mean an area to the north including "Scythia" in the southern regions of what was once known as the USSR. The Lost Ten Tribes from areas of "Assyria", i.e. the Assyrian Empire, did move to Scythia, which could also have been known as "Mitsrayim". In archaeological terms the Assyrians referred to Egypt as "Mutsri" but there was also at least one other place in the north that was also referred to by that name.
[Ezekiel 19:10] THY MOTHER IS LIKE A VINE IN THY BLOOD, PLANTED BY THE WATERS: SHE WAS FRUITFUL AND FULL OF BRANCHES BY REASON OF MANY WATERS.
[Ezekiel 19:11] AND SHE HAD STRONG RODS FOR THE SCEPTRES OF THEM THAT BARE RULE, AND HER STATURE WAS EXALTED AMONG THE THICK BRANCHES, AND SHE APPEARED IN HER HEIGHT WITH THE MULTITUDE OF HER BRANCHES.
[Ezekiel 19:12] BUT SHE WAS PLUCKED UP IN FURY, SHE WAS CAST DOWN TO THE GROUND, AND THE EAST WIND DRIED UP HER FRUIT: HER STRONG RODS WERE BROKEN AND WITHERED; THE FIRE CONSUMED THEM.
[Ezekiel 19:13] AND NOW SHE IS PLANTED IN THE WILDERNESS, IN A DRY AND THIRSTY GROUND.
[Ezekiel 19:14] AND FIRE IS GONE OUT OF A ROD OF HER BRANCHES, WHICH HATH DEVOURED HER FRUIT, SO THAT SHE HATH NO STRONG ROD TO BE A SCEPTRE TO RULE. THIS IS A LAMENTATION, AND SHALL BE FOR A LAMENTATION.
"Israel" was once exceedingly well-off but because of her sins she is punished. This may be intended for the End Times and warning us to repent lest some great calamity come upon us all.
On Ezekiel 20:32 we discuss 1. The Attitude of Brit-Am Regarding: Identifying as Israelite, Keeping the Law, Moving to Israel, Evolutionary Processes of Identification.
2. Nachmanides: The Connection Between The Law and the Land
[Ezekiel 20:1] AND IT CAME TO PASS IN THE SEVENTH YEAR, IN THE FIFTH MONTH, THE TENTH DAY OF THE MONTH, THAT CERTAIN OF THE ELDERS OF ISRAEL CAME TO ENQUIRE OF THE LORD, AND SAT BEFORE ME.
[Ezekiel 20:2] THEN CAME THE WORD OF THE LORD UNTO ME, SAYING,
[Ezekiel 20:3] SON OF MAN, SPEAK UNTO THE ELDERS OF ISRAEL, AND SAY UNTO THEM, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; ARE YE COME TO ENQUIRE OF ME" AS I LIVE, SAITH THE LORD GOD, I WILL NOT BE ENQUIRED OF BY YOU.
[Ezekiel 20:4] WILT THOU JUDGE THEM, SON OF MAN, WILT THOU JUDGE THEM" CAUSE THEM TO KNOW THE ABOMINATIONS OF THEIR FATHERS:
[Ezekiel 20:5] AND SAY UNTO THEM, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; IN THE DAY WHEN I CHOSE ISRAEL, AND LIFTED UP MINE HAND UNTO THE SEED OF THE HOUSE OF JACOB, AND MADE MYSELF KNOWN UNTO THEM IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, WHEN I LIFTED UP MINE HAND UNTO THEM, SAYING, I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD;
[Ezekiel 20:6] IN THE DAY THAT I LIFTED UP MINE HAND UNTO THEM, TO BRING THEM FORTH OF THE LAND OF EGYPT INTO A LAND THAT I HAD ESPIED FOR THEM, FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY, WHICH IS THE GLORY OF ALL LANDS:
>>THE GLORY OF ALL LANDS : The Land of Israel has spiritual and even physical features that elevate it over all other regions.
[Ezekiel 20:7] THEN SAID I UNTO THEM, CAST YE AWAY EVERY MAN THE ABOMINATIONS OF HIS EYES, AND DEFILE NOT YOURSELVES WITH THE IDOLS OF EGYPT: I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD.
Here, Ezekiel is speaking about all the Children of Egypt while they were still in Egypt before the Exodus led by Moses. Even so, archaeological remains show that the Lost Ten Tribes before their exile by the ASSYRIANS were heavily influenced by Egyptian culture. Decorations and statuettes, etc, frequently depict scenes from Egyptian mythology.
[Ezekiel 20:8] BUT THEY REBELLED AGAINST ME, AND WOULD NOT HEARKEN UNTO ME: THEY DID NOT EVERY MAN CAST AWAY THE ABOMINATIONS OF THEIR EYES, NEITHER DID THEY FORSAKE THE IDOLS OF EGYPT: THEN I SAID, I WILL POUR OUT MY FURY UPON THEM, TO ACCOMPLISH MY ANGER AGAINST THEM IN THE MIDST OF THE LAND OF EGYPT.
[Ezekiel 20:9] BUT I WROUGHT FOR MY NAME'S SAKE, THAT IT SHOULD NOT BE POLLUTED BEFORE THE HEATHEN, AMONG WHOM THEY WERE, IN WHOSE SIGHT I MADE MYSELF KNOWN UNTO THEM, IN BRINGING THEM FORTH OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT.
In Egypt most of the Israelites worshipped idols. They followed the Egyptian pagan customs and also those of the Land of Canaan, or they adapted aspects of both systems to their own needs. Nevertheless God saved them. The Name of God is the God of Israel. The honor of Israel is ultimately HIS honor. For HIS own sake He brought them out of Egypt, made them HIS unique nation and gave them HIS laws to distinguish them from all other peoples.
[Ezekiel 20:10] WHEREFORE I CAUSED THEM TO GO FORTH OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, AND BROUGHT THEM INTO THE WILDERNESS.
[Ezekiel 20:11] AND I GAVE THEM MY STATUTES, AND SHEWED THEM MY JUDGMENTS, WHICH IF A MAN DO, HE SHALL EVEN LIVE IN THEM.
[Ezekiel 20:12] MOREOVER ALSO I GAVE THEM MY SABBATHS, TO BE A SIGN BETWEEN ME AND THEM, THAT THEY MIGHT KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD THAT SANCTIFY THEM.
Keeping the Sabbath is one of the symbols of Israel.
[Ezekiel 20:13] BUT THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL REBELLED AGAINST ME IN THE WILDERNESS: THEY WALKED NOT IN MY STATUTES, AND THEY DESPISED MY JUDGMENTS, WHICH IF A MAN DO, HE SHALL EVEN LIVE IN THEM; AND MY SABBATHS THEY GREATLY POLLUTED: THEN I SAID, I WOULD POUR OUT MY FURY UPON THEM IN THE WILDERNESS, TO CONSUME THEM.
<<HE SHALL EVEN LIVE IN THEM: The Laws and Keeping the Law give a practical benefit in their own right. They enhance life, giving physical and mental health and spiritual fulfillment.
[Ezekiel 20:14] BUT I WROUGHT FOR MY NAME'S SAKE, THAT IT SHOULD NOT BE POLLUTED BEFORE THE HEATHEN, IN WHOSE SIGHT I BROUGHT THEM OUT.
[Ezekiel 20:15] YET ALSO I LIFTED UP MY HAND UNTO THEM IN THE WILDERNESS, THAT I WOULD NOT BRING THEM INTO THE LAND WHICH I HAD GIVEN THEM, FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY, WHICH IS THE GLORY OF ALL LANDS;
[Ezekiel 20:16] BECAUSE THEY DESPISED MY JUDGMENTS, AND WALKED NOT IN MY STATUTES, BUT POLLUTED MY SABBATHS: FOR THEIR HEART WENT AFTER THEIR IDOLS.
[Ezekiel 20:17] NEVERTHELESS MINE EYE SPARED THEM FROM DESTROYING THEM, NEITHER DID I MAKE AN END OF THEM IN THE WILDERNESS.
[Ezekiel 20:18] BUT I SAID UNTO THEIR CHILDREN IN THE WILDERNESS, WALK YE NOT IN THE STATUTES OF YOUR FATHERS, NEITHER OBSERVE THEIR JUDGMENTS, NOR DEFILE YOURSELVES WITH THEIR IDOLS:
[Ezekiel 20:19] I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD; WALK IN MY STATUTES, AND KEEP MY JUDGMENTS, AND DO THEM;
[Ezekiel 20:20] AND HALLOW MY SABBATHS; AND THEY SHALL BE A SIGN BETWEEN ME AND YOU, THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD.
[Ezekiel 20:21] NOTWITHSTANDING THE CHILDREN REBELLED AGAINST ME: THEY WALKED NOT IN MY STATUTES, NEITHER KEPT MY JUDGMENTS TO DO THEM, WHICH IF A MAN DO, HE SHALL EVEN LIVE IN THEM; THEY POLLUTED MY SABBATHS: THEN I SAID, I WOULD POUR OUT MY FURY UPON THEM, TO ACCOMPLISH MY ANGER AGAINST THEM IN THE WILDERNESS.
[Ezekiel 20:22] NEVERTHELESS I WITHDREW MINE HAND, AND WROUGHT FOR MY NAME'S SAKE, THAT IT SHOULD NOT BE POLLUTED IN THE SIGHT OF THE HEATHEN, IN WHOSE SIGHT I BROUGHT THEM FORTH.
[Ezekiel 20:23] I LIFTED UP MINE HAND UNTO THEM ALSO IN THE WILDERNESS, THAT I WOULD SCATTER THEM AMONG THE HEATHEN, AND DISPERSE THEM THROUGH THE COUNTRIES;
[Ezekiel 20:24] BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT EXECUTED MY JUDGMENTS, BUT HAD DESPISED MY STATUTES, AND HAD POLLUTED MY SABBATHS, AND THEIR EYES WERE AFTER THEIR FATHERS' IDOLS.
[Ezekiel 20:25] WHEREFORE I GAVE THEM ALSO STATUTES THAT WERE NOT GOOD, AND JUDGMENTS WHEREBY THEY SHOULD NOT LIVE;
[Ezekiel 20:26] AND I POLLUTED THEM IN THEIR OWN GIFTS, IN THAT THEY CAUSED TO PASS THROUGH THE FIRE ALL THAT OPENETH THE WOMB, THAT I MIGHT MAKE THEM DESOLATE, TO THE END THAT THEY MIGHT KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD.
[Ezekiel 20:27] THEREFORE, SON OF MAN, SPEAK UNTO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, AND SAY UNTO THEM, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; YET IN THIS YOUR FATHERS HAVE BLASPHEMED ME, IN THAT THEY HAVE COMMITTED A TRESPASS AGAINST ME.
[Ezekiel 20:28] FOR WHEN I HAD BROUGHT THEM INTO THE LAND, FOR THE WHICH I LIFTED UP MINE HAND TO GIVE IT TO THEM, THEN THEY SAW EVERY HIGH HILL, AND ALL THE THICK TREES, AND THEY OFFERED THERE THEIR SACRIFICES, AND THERE THEY PRESENTED THE PROVOCATION OF THEIR OFFERING: THERE ALSO THEY MADE THEIR SWEET SAVOUR, AND POURED OUT THERE THEIR DRINK OFFERINGS.
[Ezekiel 20:29] THEN I SAID UNTO THEM, WHAT IS THE HIGH PLACE WHEREUNTO YE GO" AND THE NAME WHEREOF IS CALLED BAMAH UNTO THIS DAY.
[Ezekiel 20:30] WHEREFORE SAY UNTO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; ARE YE POLLUTED AFTER THE MANNER OF YOUR FATHERS" AND COMMIT YE WHOREDOM AFTER THEIR ABOMINATIONS"
[Ezekiel 20:31] FOR WHEN YE OFFER YOUR GIFTS, WHEN YE MAKE YOUR SONS TO PASS THROUGH THE FIRE, YE POLLUTE YOURSELVES WITH ALL YOUR IDOLS, EVEN UNTO THIS DAY: AND SHALL I BE ENQUIRED OF BY YOU, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL" AS I LIVE, SAITH THE LORD GOD, I WILL NOT BE ENQUIRED OF BY YOU.
[Ezekiel 20:32] AND THAT WHICH COMETH INTO YOUR MIND SHALL NOT BE AT ALL, THAT YE SAY, WE WILL BE AS THE HEATHEN, AS THE FAMILIES OF THE COUNTRIES, TO SERVE WOOD AND STONE.
<<AS THE FAMILIES OF THE COUNTRIES, TO SERVE WOOD AND STONE: This does not necessarily mean open idolatry. It is also understood as indicating subservience to foreign cultures that are based on pagan concepts.
The sages relate that after the Babylonian exile there were some Jewish leaders who said that since the Torah is designed for life in the Land of Israel then outside of Israel it does not need to be practiced. God is saying, No! The Jews are still obligated to keep the Law.
This brings us to elucidate several important concepts: These points may be obvious to some people and you may have already heard them expressed in different ways previously. Nevertheless, the following points still need to be emphasized since not everybody is aware of them and we often receive queries concerning them.
1. The Attitude of Brit-Am Regarding: Identifying as Israelite, Keeping the Law, Moving to Israel, Evolutionary Processes of Identification.
Brit-Am says that many people in the West are descended from the Lost Ten Tribes and from "Captive Jews". People in these regions who identify with us can safely assume that they are of Israelite descent. Even if they are not, the fact that they dwell amongst Lost Israelites and identify with them will make them part of Israel in the Last Days (Ezekiel 47:23). Eventually the Lost Ten Tribes will return and be accepted anew into the Covenant of Moses (Malachi 3:22; Yerushalmi, Sanhedrin 10; Zohar, "VaYechi"). At present they have other goals and duties to fulfill. Technically they are Gentiles and not obligated by the Law (Jeremiah 3:8, Yebamot 17). Their obligations under the Law have been suspended temporarily (Hosea 1:9).
In the future, the Lost Ten tribes will return to re-settle in the land and they will accept the Law. Some sources indicate that they will return to the land before they once again accept the Covenant of Moses.
Nevertheless, in principle: Settling in the Land, as an Israelite, requires the keeping of the law of Moses. This means, in effect, of being a member of the Jewish religion. Today, it may be that only about 20% of the Jews in Israel are formally religious BUT many of the others are in some process of returning and most are faithful to the basic concepts.
Our message is that if, at this point, a Gentile member of the Lost Ten Tribes wishes to return to the Land of Israel they cannot do so by claiming that they are Israelites since they do not keep the law nor are they obliged to do so. They can (if they so wish) come to Israel, as many do, as non-Jews who are interested in being here.
The message of Brit-Am to Gentile members of the Lost Ten Tribes is that they should become conscious of their identity and spread this consciousness to others. They have a duty to their own tribe and to their ancestors to become aware of who they are, on the individual and communal level. They also have an international obligation and a duty towards Judah. Judah also has a duty towards them. The expectations are to be fulfilled in evolutionary stages. Some people will naturally feel a need to move at a faster rate than others. We deal with the situation in general. The initial stages of awareness should be initiated with as many people as possible. The progress of the individual should be within his community and, as far as possible, together with it. This is what Brit-Am is attempting to do and what it is committed to, at the moment.
Incidentally, some ignorant people have claimed that Brit-Am is liable to mislead people and give them the wrong impression. It has been stated by ignorant types that we are liable to cause Christian Gentiles to think that, since they are descended from the Lost Ten Tribes, they are the same as Jews and should be able to settle in Israel under the Law of Return. We have never said anything like that. On the contrary, we have always gone out of our way to describe things as they are, even at our own expense. We know of no case of anybody having misled themselves or been misled by others, because of us. Certain people HAVE received wrong ideas of the said nature from other sources and then come to us and we have endeavored to set them straight.
2. Nachmanides: The Connection Between The Law and the Land:
The connection between the Law and the Land is best summed up by Nachmanides (1194-1270). Not everybody would necessarily agree with Nachmanides on every point but what he says does appear to fit all relevant Biblical passages. The extact below is a free translation:
<< "AND THE LAND IS DEFILED: THEREFORE I DO VISIT THE INIQUITY THEREOF UPON IT, AND THE LAND ITSELF VOMITETH OUT HER INHABITANTS" [Leviticus 18:25]. Scripture is especially strict concerning sexual offences that if transgressed cause the Land to be polluted and vomit the offenders out of it. Are not sexual offences pertinent to the physical body rather than to the land" The secret of the matter, however, is contained in the verse, "WHEN THE MOST HIGH DIVIDED TO THE NATIONS THEIR INHERITANCE, WHEN HE SEPARATED THE SONS OF ADAM, HE SET THE BOUNDS OF THE PEOPLE ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL"; "FOR THE LORD'S PORTION IS HIS PEOPLE" [Deuteronomy 32:8-9]. The Almighty God created everything and made the power of [physical] things below dependent on [spiritual] things above".He distributed to every people and country its own angel, as it says, "BUT THE PRINCE OF THE KINGDOM OF PERSIA WITHSTOOD ME" [Daniel 10:13] and "LO, THE PRINCE OF GRECIA SHALL COME" [Daniel 10:20]. [Nachmanides here understands the reference to "princes" to mean guardian angels of the nation]"The Land of Israel, however, is the inheritance of God and unique to Him. God did not appoint over it any angel or other spiritual ruling power. God gave the land of Israel to His special people, the seed of His beloved ones, as it says, "YE SHALL BE A PECULIAR TREASURE UNTO ME ABOVE ALL PEOPLE: FOR ALL THE EARTH IS MINE" [Exodus 19:5], and it says, "SO SHALL YE BE MY PEOPLE, AND I WILL BE YOUR GOD" [Jeremiah 11:4]. You shall not have any other higher spiritual beings [apart from God] over you, whatsoever. God sanctified the people who dwell in His land with the sanctity of sexual prohibitions and numerous commandments to be dedicated to His Name. It therefore says, "YE SHALL THEREFORE KEEP ALL MY STATUTES, AND ALL MY JUDGMENTS, AND DO THEM: THAT THE LAND, WHITHER I BRING YOU TO DWELL THEREIN, SPUE YOU NOT OUT" [Leviticus 20:22]. And it says, "YE SHALL INHERIT THEIR LAND, AND I WILL GIVE IT UNTO YOU TO POSSESS IT, A LAND THAT FLOWETH WITH MILK AND HONEY: I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD, WHICH HAVE SEPARATED YOU FROM OTHER PEOPLE" [Leviticus 20:24]. God separated us from all other peoples who have guardian angels over them. God separated us by giving us His land and He being the only spiritual entity in charge of us [without any intermediary]. The Land of Israel, which is the inheritance of Almighty God, will vomit out those who pollute it. The Land will not tolerate the worshippers of idols, or the committers of sexual offences".
[Nachmanides goes on bringing verses to prove that God has a special relationship with the Land of Israel and there it is especially important to worship ONLY HIM and keep His commandments].
Numerous other verses confirm and expsand on the points raised by Nachmanides, e.g.
"SO THAT I COME AGAIN TO MY FATHER'S HOUSE IN PEACE; THEN SHALL THE LORD BE MY GOD" [Genesis 28:21] Brit-Am explanation: The Lost Ten Tribes were destined to be exiled and forget the correct worship of God. In the future they will return, acknowledge the Almighty, and re-settle the Land. Jacob represents his descendants. When He returns to his spiritual and physical inheritance ("MY FATHER'S HOUSE IN PEACE") then He will once again return to the God of Israel.
[Ezekiel 20:33] AS I LIVE, SAITH THE LORD GOD, SURELY WITH A MIGHTY HAND, AND WITH A STRETCHED OUT ARM, AND WITH FURY POURED OUT, WILL I RULE OVER YOU:
God rules over us and the Law will have to be kept.
[Ezekiel 20:34] AND I WILL BRING YOU OUT FROM THE PEOPLE, AND WILL GATHER YOU OUT OF THE COUNTRIES WHEREIN YE ARE SCATTERED, WITH A MIGHTY HAND, AND WITH A STRETCHED OUT ARM, AND WITH FURY POURED OUT.
[Ezekiel 20:35] AND I WILL BRING YOU INTO THE WILDERNESS OF THE PEOPLE, AND THERE WILL I PLEAD WITH YOU FACE TO FACE.
"WILDERNESS OF THE PEOPLE": I once heard the opinion (by Jim Jensen) that this refers to North America. Others say that it refers to the historical places of exile and dispersion in general. Still others believe it refers to the Wilderness of Sinai or Arabia or some such place. It may be understood that at least part of the Israelites will pass through such an area before their final return. In that place, they will begin the process of returning to the God of Israel.
Cf. <THEREFORE, BEHOLD, I WILL ALLURE HER, AND BRING HER INTO THE WILDERNESS, AND SPEAK COMFORTABLY UNTO HER[Hosea 2:14].
Some say "Wilderness" refers to North America. The early Pilgrim Pioneers themselves had a kind of notion like this. They envisioned themselves as "Israelite" Pilgrims in the Wilderness creating a "New Zion".
<AND I WILL GIVE HER HER VINEYARDS FROM THENCE, AND THE VALLEY OF ACHOR FOR A DOOR OF HOPE: AND SHE SHALL SING THERE, AS IN THE DAYS OF HER YOUTH, AND AS IN THE DAY WHEN SHE CAME UP OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT [Hosea 2:15].
[Ezekiel 20:36] LIKE AS I PLEADED WITH YOUR FATHERS IN THE WILDERNESS OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, SO WILL I PLEAD WITH YOU, SAITH THE LORD GOD.
[Ezekiel 20:37] AND I WILL CAUSE YOU TO PASS UNDER THE ROD, AND I WILL BRING YOU INTO THE BOND OF THE COVENANT:
[Ezekiel 20:38] AND I WILL PURGE OUT FROM AMONG YOU THE REBELS, AND THEM THAT TRANSGRESS AGAINST ME: I WILL BRING THEM FORTH OUT OF THE COUNTRY WHERE THEY SOJOURN, AND THEY SHALL NOT ENTER INTO THE LAND OF ISRAEL: AND YE SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD.
They shall once more be brought into the "wilderness" as an intermediate stage before once again accepting the Law.
[Ezekiel 20:39] AS FOR YOU, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; GO YE, SERVE YE EVERY ONE HIS IDOLS, AND HEREAFTER ALSO, IF YE WILL NOT HEARKEN UNTO ME: BUT POLLUTE YE MY HOLY NAME NO MORE WITH YOUR GIFTS, AND WITH YOUR IDOLS.
[Ezekiel 20:40] FOR IN MINE HOLY MOUNTAIN, IN THE MOUNTAIN OF THE HEIGHT OF ISRAEL, SAITH THE LORD GOD, THERE SHALL ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, ALL OF THEM IN THE LAND, SERVE ME: THERE WILL I ACCEPT THEM, AND THERE WILL I REQUIRE YOUR OFFERINGS, AND THE FIRSTFRUITS OF YOUR OBLATIONS, WITH ALL YOUR HOLY THINGS.
<<MINE HOLY MOUNTAIN: This is the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
[Ezekiel 20:41] I WILL ACCEPT YOU WITH YOUR SWEET SAVOUR, WHEN I BRING YOU OUT FROM THE PEOPLE, AND GATHER YOU OUT OF THE COUNTRIES WHEREIN YE HAVE BEEN SCATTERED; AND I WILL BE SANCTIFIED IN YOU BEFORE THE HEATHEN.
[Ezekiel 20:42] AND YE SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD, WHEN I SHALL BRING YOU INTO THE LAND OF ISRAEL, INTO THE COUNTRY FOR THE WHICH I LIFTED UP MINE HAND TO GIVE IT TO YOUR FATHERS.
We may say that in the "Wilderness" there will be a new awareness and acceptance of the truth. Only after entering the Land, however, re-acceptance of the truth take place.
[Ezekiel 20:43] AND THERE SHALL YE REMEMBER YOUR WAYS, AND ALL YOUR DOINGS, WHEREIN YE HAVE BEEN DEFILED; AND YE SHALL LOTHE YOURSELVES IN YOUR OWN SIGHT FOR ALL YOUR EVILS THAT YE HAVE COMMITTED.
<<YE SHALL LOTHE YOURSELVES IN YOUR OWN SIGHT FOR ALL YOUR EVILS: We shall all repent for the bad we have done or caused others to do or for the good we could have done and did not.
[Ezekiel 20:44] AND YE SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD WHEN I HAVE WROUGHT WITH YOU FOR MY NAME'S SAKE, NOT ACCORDING TO YOUR WICKED WAYS, NOR ACCORDING TO YOUR CORRUPT DOINGS, O YE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, SAITH THE LORD GOD.
Ezekiel 20- no.2
In some editions of the Bible these last verses of chapter 20 are counted as the first verses of chapter 21.
[Ezekiel 20:45] MOREOVER THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME UNTO ME, SAYING,
[Ezekiel 20:46] SON OF MAN, SET THY FACE TOWARD THE SOUTH, AND DROP THY WORD TOWARD THE SOUTH, AND PROPHESY AGAINST THE FOREST OF THE SOUTH FIELD;
Ekiel is referring to Judah and Jerusalem that were to the south of him. Ezekiel at the time of prophecy was to the north, in the kingdom of Babylon.
[Ezekiel 20:47] AND SAY TO THE FOREST OF THE SOUTH, HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD; THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; BEHOLD, I WILL KINDLE A FIRE IN THEE, AND IT SHALL DEVOUR EVERY GREEN TREE IN THEE, AND EVERY DRY TREE: THE FLAMING FLAME SHALL NOT BE QUENCHED, AND ALL FACES FROM THE SOUTH TO THE NORTH SHALL BE BURNED THEREIN.
[Ezekiel 20:48] AND ALL FLESH SHALL SEE THAT I THE LORD HAVE KINDLED IT: IT SHALL NOT BE QUENCHED.
[Ezekiel 20:49] THEN SAID I, AH LORD GOD! THEY SAY OF ME, DOTH HE NOT SPEAK PARABLES"
They were against a literal understanding of the prophecy since it seemed too harsh to them and they could not face the possibility of such additional disaster coming upon them. At the same time, not every prophecy is to be taken literally. Some Biblical passages are indeed intended to be parables for something else.
|Exekiel chs. 11 to 15|