A Voice in the
And it happened, the Word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Son of man, set your face towards the mountains of Israel and prophesy against them. And say, Mountains of Israel, hear the Word of the Lord Jehovah: So says the Lord Jehovah to the mountains, and to the hills, to the ravines, and to the valleys, Behold, I, even I will bring a sword on you, and I will destroy your high places. And your altars shall be ruined, and your pillars shall be broken. And I will cast down your slain before your idols. (Eze6:1-4)
Here we see the prophet FORE-telling what is to come; yet in the future. Why is he speaking to the mountains and hills and valleys? When God's judgment is complete, there won't be any -people- left, to know. Why is judgment coming? Because of their idolatry. And they will be killed "before [their] idols". Their gods they have been worshiping and trusting in will not have saved them.
A similar thing exists in Israel today. Idolatry. The peoples of the world claim that it is "home" to the "three major religions" - Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
However, Judaism, by having such a label, is not of the Most High. They do not worship the "God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob". (Ex3:6) They worship their traditions. There are so many factions to Judaism, all believing different things, even though God proclaimed, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is -ONE-." (Deu6:4)
What of that which is called "christian"? There are "churches" all over the place, with relics, images and symbols. God had proclaimed, "You shall not make...any likeness..." (Ex20:4) Some of those symbols are even satanist.
And then, there is Islam. An entity which, by its very dogmatic essence, has as its purpose, to rid God's Abrahamic covenant land of the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They have their sacred objects, including their sacred towers.
In Ezekiel's day, Israel had invited these things back into the land, after it had been cleansed. Today, these entities existed prior to Israel retaking possession. And yet, they do not obey God, to get rid of the land's paganism. God gave them victories, giving their territories back into their hands. But they do not take full possession, by eradicating the idolatry. Instead, they negotiate...giving back to their enemies, what God had said should never be given away. (Lev25:23) It is -God's- land.
What was FORE-told for that day can be said for today. Israel is yet "in for" some horrendous times in the near future. And God says, "And the slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am Jehovah." (Eze6:7) The purposes of God are that the people of the earth know that God is Jehovah, the "Existing One". They will, again, see His power.
And yet, for such destruction, God promised, "Yet I will leave a remainder.." (vs8) Paul quotes from the O.T. and calls them the "remnant". (Rom9:27, 11:5) This remnant will be "few". (Jer42:2) Israel's total -national- population today is not even as great as New York City or Los Angeles. Cities. And yet, when God's wrath is complete in the upcoming tribulation, even only a third of them will remain. (Zec13:8) But these remnants will "know that I am Jehovah; not in vain have I said to do this evil to them." (Eze6:10) And they will "mourn" as they see their Messiah coming down to the Mt. of Olives. (Zech 12:10) And God will "cut off the names of the idols in the land, and they shall be remembered no more.." (Zech13:2) It -WILL- come!
Then, in the next chapter please notice: "The Word of Jehovah was to me saying...so says the Lord Jehovah to the land of Israel: An end! The end has come on the four corners of the land. The end is now on you, and I will send My anger on you and will judge you according to your ways..." (Eze7:1-3) In the previous chapter God said that it "will come", in the future. Now, "..the end -has- come!" (vs6)
God does not leave people without warning. It is not God's "purpose" that people perish; (2Pt3:9) but that sinners should repent. He waits with "longsuffering." He "endures with much longsuffering [the] vessels of wrath." (Rom9:22) But when it's finally time, He also gives warning to His own. "The time has come, the day of tumult is near...I will soon pour out My fury on you." (Eze7:7-8)
In this particular case, God sent Ezekiel to His people, Israel. In the case of Lot and his family, God sent the two angels. The night before, the warning was given to family members. The inlaws scoffed. (Gen19:14) And the next day the angels dragged them out. But even there, Lot's wife turned back, and was destroyed.
In the coming time of wrath, God will be sending the two prophets. (Rev11) If anybody tries to tell you that we are presently (now) "in" the Tribulation period, keep in mind that we have not yet seen these two prophets, who also destroy their enemies with fire out of their mouths, and do all sorts of wonders and plagues, like Moses and Elijah did. Just as John the Baptist was "preparing the way of the Lord" for Jesus' first coming, these two prophets will be prophesying before the very end. God, again, giving warning that "Now is the time".
There is also another "sign" that it is "now" time. Jesus said that it would be just like the "days of Lot". (Lk17:28) Lot was removed from Sodom, and "on the day" that happened, "it rained fire and brimstone...and destroyed them all." (vs29) And Jesus says, "Even so it will be in the day the Son of Man is revealed." (vs30) If you hadn't noticed before, the full name of the final book of Scripture is "The Revelation of Jesus Christ". This is the primary book describing the end-time wrath of God poured out upon the world. This act of God to judge the world is synonymous with "revealing Jesus Christ". Lot was removed...THEN...destruction came. Lot was characterized by being "righteous". (2Pt2:7) The Church, by definition, is the "righteousness of God in Christ". (2Cor5:21) We have used the expression in the past about the imminent Rapture of the Church as God's "starting gun"; God's clarion announcement to the world that "the time has come, the day of tumult is near." The time to "reveal" Jesus Christ.
We progress another couple chapters and find God's protection for His own. The "overseers" (9:1) are poised, ready to start destroying, weapons in hand. But notice before they are released, God calls out to the one with the "ink horn" (vs3) to go "mark on the foreheads of the men who are groaning and are mourning over all the abominations that are done in her midst." (vs4) And once that is done, the command is given to go destroy and "do not let your eye spare, and do not have pity". (vs5) EXCEPT those who were marked.
We see a similar account in Revelation ch7, where the tribes of Israel (vs4) are marked for protection from the coming wrath. Remember, the "righteous" Church has been taken out -before-, like Lot was taken "out of" Sodom. This is protection for those of Israel who survive. Wrath upon Israel is due because "The iniquity of the house of Israel and of Judah is very great, and the land is filled with blood, and the city is full of perversity." (vs9) We see God's protection for these marked ones in a "prepared" place for 3 1/2 years. (Rev12:14)
Israel is called God's "elect". (Is45:4) And yet, notice where judgment begins. "And begin from My sanctuary." (vs6) For the Church, too, there is cause to fear. (1Pt4:17) As it says, if Israel didn't escape God's judgment, what of those who take light the blood of Christ! (Heb10:29)
Yes, the "righteous" Church will be raptured. But what of the multitude who are in the "church" (small "c"); who are not Christian christians. (Rom9:6) Those who will wail out to Christ in that day, "Didn't we...IN YOUR NAME...???" to whom Jesus responds, "I never knew you. Depart from me...you practicing lawlessness!" (Mt7:22-23)
Oh, what a horrendous time for the "church" (small "c") during the Tribulation!! There are the scoffers who deny the Rapture; or who say it won't happen when Scripture teaches that it will. They say that the "church will go through the Tribulation". Well...yes...-their- "church" will! And -THEY- are the first ones God is going to be dealing with in judgment. "..begin from My sanctuary.." They have been in the midst of, and ring-leaders of the "perversity". They are the objects of that which God tells the messengers to "not spare" and "not have pity".
Notice the ones who are spared judgment. Those who "are groaning and are mourning.." (vs4) Yes, there is "joy unspeakable and being glorified" (1Pt1:8) in serving Jesus. But a joyous Believer is not necessarily noticed by his "smiling face" and "howdy-do" handshakes. In these days in which we live, you may actually see a sad countenance and tears. Why? Because of the depths of the apostasy. While we are at "one" with the Lord, and thus at peace with Him, that which we see around us gives us overwhelming sorrow. Sometimes there is even 'anger' at seeing the blaspheme against the God Who indwells us by His Holy Spirit. As we "have the mind of Christ" (1Cor2:16), we share in God's anger against sin. We also have tears of sorrow, seeing the vast lostness of humanity. And there is 'groaning' at the blindness of those who say they are "Christians", but are not. (Rev2:9,3:9) But for you reading this, who are "left" when the Church is raptured, notice those who remain. You will likely notice they are mostly the ones who were formerly dancing around, smiling, laughing and shouting...preaching to "have these supernatural -experiences- and prosper!" But, the fact that they remained and were not caught up to be with the Lord means that they don't (really) know the Lord. Do not be deceived by them!
And finally, for the false prophets, pastors and teachers who said of the Rapture, "My lord delays to come" (Mt24:48) even Ezekiel has a Word for you. Israel had a similar proverb, "the days are long, and every vision shall perish." Jehovah says, "I will make this proverb cease.." (Eze12:22-23)
When Ezekiel was commissioned a 'prophet' by God, he was sent to "a house of rebellion" and was told "you shall speak My Words to them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, for they are rebellious" and yet, when he had prophesied they would "know that a prophet has been among them." (Eze2:5-7)
They said of Ezekiel's prophecies, "the vision that he is seeing is for many days, and he prophesies for times far off." (12:27) So say to them, So says the Lord Jehovah: Not any of My Words will be drawn out any longer. What I have spoken, that Word shall be done, declares the Lord Jehovah." (vs27-28)