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The Visions and Oracles of the Prophet Ezekiel (17)

Biblical Research Monthly, January 1947 thru September 1950 — by Dr. David L. Cooper

Installments:

      1. Some Preliminary Observations
      2. The Call and Commission of Ezekiel
      3. The Beginnings of Ezekiel's Ministry
      4. The Final Collapse of Judah Under the Babylonian Siege
      5. Jehovah's Withdrawal from the City and it's Downfall
      6. The Flight and Capture of the King Symbolically Represented and Warning Against a Wrong Attitude Concerning Prophecy
      7. Prophecy and Idolatry
      8. Israel, the Burnt Vine and the Unfaithful Wife
      9. The Riddle of the Two Great Eagles and the Messianic Reign of Christ
      10. God's Reply to the Proverb, “The Fathers have Eaten Sour Grapes, and the Children's Teeth are Set on Edge”
      11. The Young Lions and the Rods of Judah
      12. Israel's Past and Future Experiences
      13. The Sword of Jehovah
      14. Sinful Jerusalem and Her Punishment
      15. The Lewdness of Oholah and Oholibah
      16. The Boiling Caldron
      17. Oracles Concerning Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia
      18. The Oracle Concerning Tyre
      19. The Oracles Concerning Egypt
      20. The Watchman on the Wall (Chapter 33)
      21. The Untrue Shepherds of Israel
      22. The Flock of Jehovah and its Shepherd
      23. The Judgment upon Edom
      24. The Curse Removed from the Land of Israel
      25. Israel's Restoration to the Land of the Fathers and Her Conversion
      26. The Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones
      27. The Scattered Nation of Israel Reunited under King Messiah
      28. The Overthrow of the Russian Forces that Invade Palestine (Chapter 38)
      29. The Overthrow of the Antichrist's Forces Invade Palestine (Chapter 39)
      30. The Millennial Jerusalem
      31. The Millennial Temple
      32. The Prince and the Glorified Millennial Temple
      33. The Land of Israel in the Millennium

Oracles Concerning Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia

Various prophets spoke concerning different nations and pointed to the future which was before these nations. It is to be observed, however, that God spoke only of the nations of the world as they came in contact with Israel or would do so. Truly Israel is the hub of the nations. Palestine is the center of the earth and all events of history eddy around Israel as their center. That this statement is correct is evident from Deuteronomy 32:8,9:

When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
When he separated the children of men,
He set the bounds of the peoples
According to the number of the children of Israel.
For Jehovah's portion is his people;
Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.”

The one who is interested in the way God spoke concerning various nations should turn to Isaiah, chapters 13-23. Jeremiah likewise surveyed the nations round about Israel and uttered oracles concerning them. See Jeremiah, chapters 46-51. With both of these prophets Babylon loomed very largely upon the distant horizon of the end time. This becomes evident from a study of Isaiah, chapters 13 and 14, and Jeremiah, chapters 50 and 51. Ezekiel discussed certain nations in chapters 25-32. He had little to say concerning Babylon; but Egypt loomed largely on his political horizon. Amos in like manner dealt with the nations around about Israel (see Amos, chapters 1 and 2). Some of the Minor Prophets spoke of only one nation. For instance, Nahum uttered his oracle concerning Assyria. Obadiah directed his entire attention to Edom. Habakkuk spoke largely of Babylon, as it was rising in the immediate future, and blended his description of the neo-Babylonian Empire with Babylon of the end time.

Daniel, in chapters 1 and 7, outlined the entire Times of the Gentiles, giving the succession of four world empires under the symbolism of a metallic image and that of four vicious, ferocious beasts. To study the oracles concerning these various nations in their relations with Israel, to visit the spots, and to see the desolation that was described by the prophets, and that was actually accomplished, is to confirm one's faith in the infallible Book of God.

I. Oracle Concerning Ammon

Blood will tell. For the origin of Ammon and Moab one should read the latter part of Genesis, chapter 19. Such immorality is seldom seen, even among Gentiles. It is too bad that people come into the world under such conditions, being thus handicapped. The only thing, however, that can counteract the disadvantages and handicaps of one's first birth is the second, or new, birth.

The special sin of which the Ammonites were guilty was that of anti-Semitism and intense jealousy, and a spirit of revenge against the Chosen People. This diabolical spirit manifested itself when Israel was punished of God and her land was made desolate. The children of Ammon gloated over such calamities and with despiteful revenge gave expression to such satanic feelings.

Every sin receives a just recompense of reward. Let everyone be sure that his sin will find him out. Everyone reaps what he sows. Thus the God of justice and righteousness foretold that the children of the East would invade the territory of Ammon and would make their country desolate. Even its capital would become a stable for camels and a couching place for flocks. God literally fulfilled this prophecy in the past. By traversing the territory of the children of Ammon one will see the ruins of a once mighty civilization. For instance, the ruins at Gerash in the territory of the children of Ammon is one of the most interesting historical sites in the Near East. These, however, are a monument to the infallibility and inerrancy of the Scriptures.

II. Oracles Concerning Moab and Edom

As stated above, one should look to the nineteenth chapter of Genesis to see the lowly sinful origin of Ammon and Moab. Blood certainly has told in the case of the Ammonites.

The sin of Moab and Edom as here set forth and condemned was that they refused to see the truth that, though Israel was a nation, she was different from all peoples. Thus the children of Moab and Edom asserted, “Behold, the house of Judah is like unto all the nations ...” (Ezekiel 25:8). Israel is not “like unto all the nations.” She is different in every respect. God performed a biological miracle which made possible the birth of Isaac. By so doing, He injected new potentialities, powers, and possibilities into the bloodstream of the Jewish nation. The history of the Jews to the present time shows that their contribution to the civilization of the world has far surpassed what might have been expected of her. The Jews have stood, and still stand, in the foremost cranks of all the sciences, the professions, and the arts.

Their special calling was to set forth the religion of the Almighty before the nations of the world. Thus their origin, their qualifications, and their special mission in the world are all different from that of the other nations. God punished the Moabites and the people of Seir because they refused to see and to recognize the divinely ordained position which Israel occupies in the world.

Because these nations refused to see the light and to act accordingly, God threatened that He would have Moab invaded from the east and the very best of her land devastated by the children of the East. This was actually accomplished. I have been throughout the length and breadth of the land of Moab and can testify that this prophecy has literally been fulfilled.

III. The Oracle Concerning Edom

The word, Edom, is a name to designate the descendants of Esau. He was the elder brother of Jacob. Of course, as all know, they were twins, but Esau was the first-born. Though naturally priority was his, by virtue of his being the first-born, it was not God's purpose that he should inherit the birthright. The Lord knew the type of character that he was, and into what he would develop. He realized that Jacob would be a man who appreciated spiritual things, and who had faith. On the other hand, Esau was a happy-go-lucky kind of person, with very little appreciation for spiritual things. God, therefore, passed by Esau and had the birthright given to Jacob.

What is the special sin mentioned in Ezekiel's oracle of which Edom was guilty? It is expressed in these words: “Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them ...” (vs. 12). From these words we can see that jealousy and envy rankled in the hearts of the Edomites, and that they took vengeance upon them whenever they could. They hated the Jews and revenged themselves upon every occasion. As we know from other oracles, when some calamity overtook the Jews, the Edomites gloated over the fact and rejoiced in the calamity of God's ancient people.

What was the punishment here threatened? Therefore thus saith the Lord: “I will stretch out my hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; even unto Dedan shall they fall by the sword. And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel; and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my wrath; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord Jehovah” (vss. 13,14). No one can have a revengeful spirit and hatred in the heart and escape the punishment of Almighty God. This is true of the individual as well as of a nation or group of nations. Men and nations reap exactly what they sow.

IV. The Oracle Concerning The Philistines

Who were the Philistines? According to Amos 9:7 they seem to have been of Greek origin and to have come from Cyprus to Palestine. Archeological discoveries are bringmg to light many things which point positively in the direction that the civilization of the Philistines was similar to, if not identical with, that of the Greeks. The name, Palestine, is derived by certain phonetic changes from the name Philistia.

What was the sin of the Philistines? “Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with despite of soul to destroy with perpetual enmity ...” They, in common with other nations of whom Ezekiel speaks, seem to have been jealous of the Jews. This diabolical spirit seems to have manifested itself in all of their relations with the Hebrews. Whenever they could take advantage of them and could engage in some spite work, they did so.

What punishment was threatened?

Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will stretch out my hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethites, and destroy the remnant of the sea coast. 17 And I will execute great vengeance upon them with wrathful rebukes; and they shall know that I am Jehovah, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.” (Ezekiel 25:16,17)

Every vestige of the ancient Philistine civilization was wiped out. God has fulfilled his Word to the very letter.

Next: The Oracle Concerning Tyre

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