The Israelites, after Solomon’s reign, divided into two kingdoms. The larger of those kingdoms no longer existed in Ezekiel’s time. The Assyrians had made ruin of it. God had spared the smaller kingdom, because of the good kings Hezekiah and Josiah. These kings got rid of idols. This smaller kingdom was called Judah and its capital was Jerusalem. The little tribe of Benjamin was included.
However, other kings were bad kings who led Judah back into idolatry. In Ezekiel s time, God allowed Judah and Jerusalem to be overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Chaldean empire. The chapters we are studying in this lesson continue to predict the coming destruction of Jerusalem.
In our previous lesson on chapters 4 and 5, Ezekiel was instructed how to prophesy the siege of Jerusalem with a model made of brick and sticks. Then God spoke briefly about Jerusalem to introduce further prophecies that we now examine.
❖ In chapter 6, God speaks of the judgment he will bring upon the Israelites for their sinful rebellion in Judah and Jerusalem.
❖ The first half of chapter 7 is a set of three short poems. The theme in each poem is "The end has come... I will judge them according to their ways".
❖ The latter half of chapter 7 is a poem about the destruction of Jerusalem. The poem concludes with a repeat of the theme in the trilogy, "I will judge them according to their ways".
6th YEAR (Ezekiel 8:1).
❖ In Chapter 8 Ezekiel records a vision that God gave him to show how God is justified in punishing Israel and destroying the city and its temple.
The chapters outlined above are most depressing. God speaks of wrath and ruin. For instance we read, "This is what the Lord GOD says: Clap your hands, stamp your feet, and cry out ‘Alas!’ because of all the evil abominations that the house of Israel has done. They will fall by sword and by famine and plague... So I will vent My fury upon them" (Ezekiel 6:11-12)
That sort of statement is repeated through the three chapters (Ezekiel 6,7,8). Yet immediately before the statement above, there is a remarkable promise that shines like a beacon of hope in all the gloom.
¶“8Yet I will leave a remnant, for some of you will escape the sword when you are scattered among the nations and throughout the lands” (Ezekiel 6:8).
¶“9Then in the nations to which they have been carried captive, your survivors will remember me and how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts that turned away from me, and by their eyes that lusted after idols. So they will loathe themselves because of the evil they have done and for all their abominations. 10And they will know that I am the LORD and I did not declare in vain that I would bring this calamity upon them.” (Ezekiel 6:9-10).
Sword, famine, and plague, would almost wipe out the children of Israel. However a remnant would escape. This promise came true. Israelites returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt it. By the time Jesus was born, Jerusalem and Judea were populated by descendants of the remnant who were called Jews.
God did not preserve a remnant to be merciful primarily. He preserved a remnant so that his promises of the coming Messiah could be fulfilled. The coming Saviour of the world was to be a descendant of David.
God had promised David, "I will raise up your descendant after you... and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. Your house and your kingdom... and your throne shall be established forever" (2Samuel 7:12 13,16).
So that was why, in all the crying and dying, in all the calamity, God spared a few, and the few could take heart. God would keep his promise. In generations to come Christ the Saviour would be born.