“And when this cometh to pass, behold it will come, then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.”
The word of Yehovah had come to His servant, Ezekiel (Jech-ezek-el), in the midst of the destruction and captivity of the nation of Judah. This word was in confirmation of the promise that God had given to every one of His children; keep My commandments and walk in My statutes. The promise is as two-fold as the two edged sword for they are one in the same; if a man shall live he shall live in the law and if a man shall not live in the law he shall surely die. This was the word which God gave to Adam in the garden and it was no more an offer then than it shall ever be for the purpose of God is the manifestation of His power and glory and not man’s.
The nation of Israel had manifested her inability to keep the law and the commandments through the sin of Jeroboam. He set up a counterfeit representation of the temple, with all the furniture and accouterments and had raised up false priests to administer the service of the temple. There was liberty given to the mind and ways of Adam as the people thrived in the relaxed attitude toward the commandments and the freedom of self expression.
The more the nation grew and became prosperous in the merchandising of the world the more the people were blinded and convinced that their ways were correct. Yet Yehovah God had not changed His ways nor had He amended His law. He sent unto the people of that nation many ‘spokesmen’ to proclaim the error of their conduct and attitude, as the testified in the witness of mount Ebal (bald – having their head uncovered Deut. 27:13), but they would not hear. The final judgment of the hand of God came upon them as the kingdom was destroyed and the people taken into the captivity of the Assyrians.
This entire event, from the separation of the kingdom to the destruction of the northern tribes was an ongoing witness against the people of Judah. Unto her was sent these same ‘spokesmen’ to proclaim the righteousness of God and the wickedness of man. The word of these men was made dramatic in the example of the destruction that had come to pass and the warning was the more earnest in continuing revelation of the fact that the word of the Lord was true. Yet the treachery of Judah was greater than the treachery of Israel because hearing with her ears she could not hear and seeing with her eyes she could not comprehend the justice of Yehovah (Is. 6:10, Matt. 13:14).
“And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death because he hath spoken to turn you away from Yehovah” (Deut. 13:5).
The word that a man speaks is verified by the proof of that word. When he speaks in errata the proof is set before him to retract his words and amend his considerations. The man who alleges that he has a word from Yehovah is held to a much higher standard. If that word spoken by the ‘spokesman’ directs the people to the ways of man saying; “let us go after other gods, which you have not known and let us serve them” (2) or if the word spoken does not come to pass (18:22) then a false prophet is among the people and he shall not be permitted to remain and continue. The Word of Yehovah is not a commodity to be bartered with or held in contempt. His Word is true and whatsoever He has spoken, it has come to pass.
The law and the prophets spoke of the coming of Messiah to redeem His people and raise up the Kingdom of God. This included the conquering of the enemies of Israel and the destruction of that which was contrary to His perfect way. Israel and Judah had apostated to the point of being utterly rejected of God in the demonstration of the veracity of His word and the power of His will. He raised up His spokesman, Ezekiel (God is my strength), as the glory of Judah was swallowed up by the kingdoms of this world. This was a testimony to God’s long-suffering and His justice and yet it speaks to His mercy also. Any prophet who delivered another message, contrary or in revision of that which was received in the mount of God was to be stoned to death. Any prophet who spoke as the oracle of God and that which he proclaimed did not come to pass was to be feared and shunned for “the prophet has spoken presumptuously” (Deut. 18:22).
The long-suffering of Yehovah towards this rebellious and stiff-necked people was a condemnation against them for therein they had no excuse. God set forth His majesty and power in the creation and the heavens declare the glory of the Lord. That which may be known of God is clearly seen in that which is created and the testimony of His servant spokesmen publishing the vileness and corruption of man is evidence enough to justify His righteous wrath against all unrighteousness of man. But this is not an anti-Semitic rant. The fact that God chose this people to set forth His types and foreshadows is not a singular indictment against them but rather a general indictment against the house of Adam. The attempt to take matters into his own hands and raise up an heir unto himself is not a condemnation against Abraham but the nature of Adam. The delight after the things of the field and the meat which Esau prepared is not Isaac’s demise but a demonstration of the lusts of the flesh that draw each away and the stubbornness of the house of Jacob does not exclude him from grace but identifies the warfare within every child of promise.
This prophet (spokesman) of Yehovah spoke as he was moved of the Spirit during the time of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and into the captivity of Babylon. The Word from God was that He would destroy the abominations that they had committed and leave the house desolate. In this they would know that He is Yehovah.
But to the prophet He said that these people were talking about him behind his back. They were saying “Come I pray you and hear what is the word that is coming forth from Yehovah”. To the modern day evangelist, this meant that there would be a full house at the meeting that evening and maybe even there might be a revival in the congregation. But the Word of God, the One who tries the heart of man and knows the intentions and thoughts of man, continued and told Ezekiel that they would shew much love with their mouths but they would not be obedient to His law. This is the same thing that Jesus called the people hypocrites saying, “This people draw nigh unto Me with their mouth and honour Me with their lips but their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15:8).
God also told Ezekiel that to these people he was “as a very lovely song of one that has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument”. The presence and utterances of the prophet were not esteemed as the Word of judgment from the God of the universe, there were thought of as a ‘good talk’ of the days past in the homeland. They were soothing to their itching ears and a comfort to the flesh, but they still could not and would not be obedient to the Law of God.
“I will raise up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him” (Deut. 18:18)
This prophet that should come was the last and greatest of all the spokesmen of God for He is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among His people. Man heard His voice and gave attention to His teachings. They flocked to Him because He fed them, healed them of their sicknesses and performed many signs and wonders in their presence. He told them that the Law and the prophets were unto John and that a greater than John was in their midst. They rejoiced in His presence and imagined that He would overthrow Rome and restore the throne of David. They flocked to the wilderness and pressed upon Him in anticipation of the word which was to come forth from Yehovah. They desired to hear the love song of Yah for His people. They were amazed at this man for never did a man ever speak as He spoke and they longed for the glory of the former days and the fulfillment of the prophesies of old. They thought they were the chosen of God and that they would rule the world once again. They did not know that Yehovah God was in their midst to bring salvation to the Israel of our God and judgment to the nations who kept not the law and commandments. This is the two-edged sword of Yehovah which proceeds out of the mouth of He who sits upon the white horse (Rev. 19:15).
The nation of Israel is the type of the natural man. Without the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God, Adam believes he can present himself just before God. His imaginations lead him to invent and contrive ways that he might be blameless before God even though he cannot keep His Law. Jesus told the people that unless their righteousness exceeded that of the Pharisees, they could not enter into the kingdom of God. The Pharisees thought themselves to be blameless before God for they had found a way that man could keep the law and not be guilty of it. Yet the righteousness of the saints of God is spotless and without blemish for it is the righteousness of the Son. It is clean, pure and white and the glory thereof is so pure that it is transparent. The children of the kingdom are just before God not just free from blame. The prophet was in their midst, they came to hear His Word but they went away guilty before God. Herein did they know that a Prophet had been in their midst.
“For I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing, for to will is present with me but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Rms. 7:18)
The testimony of the Spirit of God within the child of grace is to the vileness of the flesh and the glory of God. The flesh is drawn after those things that are pleasing to it and it craves those things necessary to the welfare and health of the body. This is the way of man and, without the testimony of the Spirit, there is complete peace and harmony in the man. But the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh so that the two are contrary one to the other. Adam is rebellious before God as he continues to shoot at the mark and sew fig leave aprons together thinking they make him presentable before God. He likes the stories of a god who loves him and has a wonderful plan for his life. He believes in a loving god who could never condemn a good person, a child or one who was indigent to an eternity of torment and he cannot believe in a god who does not even give a person the opportunity to believe in him. He likes the carnal religions which agitate the senses and motivate the mind to aspire to better himself and his fellow man. He delights in the charitable works that he believes will someday earn him rewards and duty points with God but he can never be obedient to the Law of God.
The child of grace by the Spirit of God which dwells within, knows the Song of Songs; the love song of the King of Peace. The Spirit bears witness with the Spirit of the Election according to grace that the pleasant voice of the Beloved is the Word of God who speaks to His children and they hear His voice. It is the Song of Zion wherein they rejoice in the finished work of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah and they sing that new song which no man can learn (Rev. 14:3). These call upon the name of Yehovah in that pure language of the house of the redeemed and they serve Him with on consent (Zeph. 3:9). These have this Anointed One in them as the Father has revealed Himself. This is their hope of glory and every Word of that Prophet has come to pass (Luke 21:22).
The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit and he cannot know them but he knows that there is a prophet in his midst. He is Esau the first born and he is subject to the younger, who is the child of promise. He was fashioned specifically for the seed that was born from above and he was afore prepared unto this glory yet this does not justify him. He is of the earth, fashioned from the same lump of clay as the vessels outfitted for wrath. He is essential to the will of God who has appointed him a time of habitations and has established the limitation thereof, but there is no worth in him for he is of the dust. Even though he may from time to time be moral and benevolent to others, this is not the keeping of the Law of God for he cannot love Yehovah with all his heart, all his soul and all his might (Deut. 6:5). Therefore he cannot love his neighbour (those of the pasture) as he loves himself (Lev. 19:18) which is the second commandment (Mark 12:31).
The testimony of the Spirit of God within the child of grace whereby he groans awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God is the evidence that the Prophet dwells within. It is the anticipation of that return to the Father’s house and it is the expectation that when “our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building not made with hands eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven” (II Cor. 5:1). And it is the promise to every child as they are made subject to the vanity of this world and the bondage of corruption that when He shall appear, to every man in his order, to those who look for Him as He shall appear a second time without sin, we shall be like Him.
“For our conversation is in heaven from whence we look for our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working, whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself” (Phil. 3:20f).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
March 23, 2014