Bible Study: Ezekiel 21 – Instrument of God’s Judgment

The book of Ezekiel is one of the major prophets in the Old Testament. It was authored by Ezekiel who was set as a watchman to the house of Israel.

Ezek 3:17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me:

The twenty-first chapter of Ezekiel is about God using Babylon as an instrument of His judgment.

Both Righteous and Wicked Cut off

Ezek 21:1-7 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, preach against the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel; and say to the land of Israel, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I am against you, and I will draw My sword out of its sheath and cut off both righteous and wicked from you. Because I will cut off both righteous and wicked from you, therefore My sword shall go out of its sheath against all flesh from south to north, that all flesh may know that I, the LORD, have drawn My sword out of its sheath; it shall not return anymore. Sigh therefore, son of man, with a breaking heart, and sigh with bitterness before their eyes. And it shall be when they say to you, ‘Why are you sighing?’ that you shall answer, ‘Because of the news; when it comes, every heart will melt, all hands will be feeble, every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it is coming and shall be brought to pass,’ says the Lord GOD.”

God had drawn a sword that will cut off both righteous and wicked from the land of Israel. Now, why would God cut off both the righteous and the wicked from the land?

1Pet 4:17-19 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

It is important to note that not all righteous are saved when God judges the land for it’s iniquity.

Ezek 14:13-14 Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord GOD.

As God said earlier, even of Noah, Daniel and Job were in the land, they will save only themselves because of their righteousness. If this is the case, how much righteous are we supposed to be in order to get included in the list of righteous people who will be sparingly saved when God judges the land.

God slaughters His people

Ezek 21:8-17 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the LORD!’ Say: ‘A sword, a sword is sharpened And also polished! Sharpened to make a dreadful slaughter, Polished to flash like lightning! Should we then make mirth? It despises the scepter of My son, As it does all wood. And He has given it to be polished, That it may be handled; This sword is sharpened, and it is polished To be given into the hand of the slayer. Cry and wail, son of man; For it will be against My people, Against all the princes of Israel. Terrors including the sword will be against My people; Therefore strike your thigh. Because it is a testing, And what if the sword despises even the scepter? The scepter shall be no more,” says the Lord GOD. You therefore, son of man, prophesy, And strike your hands together. The third time let the sword do double damage. It is the sword that slays, The sword that slays the great men, That enters their private chambers. I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, That the heart may melt and many may stumble. Ah! It is made bright; It is grasped for slaughter: Swords at the ready! Thrust right! Set your blade! Thrust left– Wherever your edge is ordered! I also will beat My fists together, And I will cause My fury to rest; I, the LORD, have spoken.

What is the scepter of God’s Son?

Num 24:17 “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.

The scepter is a reference to the Messiah, God’s Son who will come one day as a ruler of Israel and the whole world. Rejoicing in the slaughter of the wicked in the land of Israel despises the scepter of God’s Son. God says a sword is sharpened and polished for slaughter of His people.

Heb 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

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Jesus Christ (Rev 1:16). Ref: libertyhouseofprayer.com

While most Christians look upon Christ as loving and kind who gave Himself to be killed, they willfully forget that He is coming to slaughter His people who call upon His name yet do all wickedness profaning His holy name.

What does God referring to the third time to do double damage mean and why the scepter of God’s Son is referred? There were three sieges of Jerusalem where Jews were slaughtered and taken captive.

  1. Siege of Jerusalem (597 BC)
  2. Siege of Jerusalem (587 BC)
  3. Siege of Jerusalem (70 AD)

Is God referring to the third siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD when He slaughtered and scattered Israelites after the Kingdom of God came into this world through His Son?

God’s Instrument of Judgment

Ezek 21:18-24 The word of the LORD came to me again, saying: And son of man, appoint for yourself two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to go; both of them shall go from the same land. Make a sign; put it at the head of the road to the city. Appoint a road for the sword to go to Rabbah of the Ammonites, and to Judah, into fortified Jerusalem. For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the road, at the fork of the two roads, to use divination: he shakes the arrows, he consults the images, he looks at the liver. In his right hand is the divination for Jerusalem: to set up battering rams, to call for a slaughter, to lift the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to heap up a siege mound, and to build a wall. And it will be to them like a false divination in the eyes of those who have sworn oaths with them; but he will bring their iniquity to remembrance, that they may be taken. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because you have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your doings your sins appear–because you have come to remembrance, you shall be taken in hand.

God is asking Ezekiel to appoint two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon as a sign.

  • Rabbah of Ammonites
  • Judah, the fortified Jerusalem
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Location of Rabbah & Jerusalem (represented as red star)

The king of Babylon is at the fork of the two roads that goes to Rabbah and Jerusalem and uses divination. The divination for Jerusalem is in his right hand which will be like a false divination and the king of Babylon will take them captive as well.

Here, God uses the king of Babylon to judge Israel for their iniquity.

Promise of the Messiah

Ezek 21:25-27 Now to you, O profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose iniquity shall end, thus says the Lord GOD: “Remove the turban, and take off the crown; Nothing shall remain the same. Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted. Overthrown, overthrown, I will make it overthrown! It shall be no longer, Until He comes whose right it is, And I will give it to Him.

God will overthrow the nation of Israel and give it to His Son Jesus Christ.

Rev 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

Days are coming when the seventh angel sounds the trumpet, the Kingdoms of this world including the nation of Israel will become God’s Kingdom. Are you like the wicked princes of Israel and think you can enter His kingdom? Beware, only those who does the will of the Father in Heaven will enter and inherit it.

Ammonites will be Judged

Ezek 21:28-32 And you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites and concerning their reproach,’ and say: ‘A sword, a sword is drawn, Polished for slaughter, For consuming, for flashing– While they see false visions for you, While they divine a lie to you, To bring you on the necks of the wicked, the slain Whose day has come, Whose iniquity shall end. Return it to its sheath. I will judge you In the place where you were created, In the land of your nativity. I will pour out My indignation on you; I will blow against you with the fire of My wrath, And deliver you into the hands of brutal men who are skillful to destroy. You shall be fuel for the fire; Your blood shall be in the midst of the land. You shall not be remembered, For I the LORD have spoken.

What happened to the Ammonites? Based on the Wikipedia article of Ammon, the last notice of the Ammonites is in Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho, in the second century, where it is affirmed that they were still a numerous people. Scholars speculate they were absorbed into the tribes of Arabs. Today, they were remembered no more.