Ezekiel Chapter 11
Ezekiel 11:1 “Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the LORD’S house, which looketh eastward: and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men; among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people.“
These 25 men were similar to the 25 priests and High Priest worshipping the sun god in chapter 8. They were actually supposed to be leaders of the people. They had led their people into the worship of a false god. Jaazaniah and Pelatiah were both princes, or leaders, in Jerusalem. They were probably, some of the ones that caused Jeremiah’s problems.
Ezekiel, though at the temple only in the vision, saw because God, who was everywhere present and all-knowing, impressed specific details on him in the vision.
The wicked leaders were part of God’s reason for the judgment. Ezekiel was taken in spirit to the very place which the glory of God had left (in 10:19), and was given a vision of “twenty five men,” who represented, not priests, but influential leaders among the people, who gave fatal advice to the people (in verse 2).
Ezekiel 11:2 “Then said he unto me, Son of man, these [are] the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city:“
There is nothing eviller than a wicked ruler, who leads others into their sin. Their counsel was evil. They were the blind leading the blind, and they will both fall.
Ezekiel 11:3 “Which say, [It is] not near; let us build houses: this [city is] the caldron, and we [be] the flesh.“
These false predictions were things these fleshly people wanted to hear. These were false predictions of good times. They were told to go ahead and build houses here. They would not follow God’s advice and surrender to the Babylonians. Jeremiah had told them to build houses in captivity as they would be in Babylon for a long time. Time proved Jeremiah right and these false prophets wrong.
These false leaders, like the prophets and priests who Jeremiah confronted for telling the people not to submit, scorned Jeremiah’s words from God and would pay for it.
“Caldron” meant a boiling pot, or pan. This meant they thought they were protected, because they were in this walled city.
Ezekiel 11:4 “Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man.“
Ezekiel is to denounce their prophecy by giving the true prophecy from God.
Ezekiel 11:5 “And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the LORD; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, [every one of] them.“
One great advantage that God has is that He knows our every thought, as well as our deeds. We do not even have to speak, He knows what we are thinking. He looks into the heart of man and knows whether he is evil, or good.
Notice what empowered Ezekiel to speak this truth; the Spirit of the LORD fell upon him.
Ezekiel 11:6 “Ye have multiplied your slain in this city, and ye have filled the streets thereof with the slain.“
Their disobedience to God will cause many more to die than has been necessary. God has given them every opportunity to repent, and they have not. Their unfaithfulness and disobedience has caused their number of slain to be multiplied.
The leaders, who misled Israel by inciting false expectations of a victorious defense rather than peaceful surrender, were responsible for the deadly results. Many people died in resisting Babylon.
Ezekiel 11:7 “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Your slain whom ye have laid in the midst of it, they [are] the flesh, and this [city is] the caldron: but I will bring you forth out of the midst of it.“
The dead bodies would be the flesh in this walled city. God will let Babylon take them captive. Many will die by the sword, but many more will die by famine and pestilence.
The false leaders thought that unless they fought, they would all be in a caldron, i.e., the city. But here the Lord promised that some would be delivered from the city, only to die on Israel’s border in the wilderness (in verses 8-11). This was literally fulfilled at Riblah.
Ezekiel 11:8 “Ye have feared the sword; and I will bring a sword upon you, saith the Lord GOD.“
These are those who thought they had escaped, but are hunted down and die of their greatest fear; the sword.
Ezekiel 11:9 “And I will bring you out of the midst thereof, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and will execute judgments among you.“
This is speaking of those who are taken into Babylon in chains. They, and their children, will remain there 70 years. God has judged them, and each of them are punished accordingly.
Ezekiel 11:10 “Ye shall fall by the sword; I will judge you in the border of Israel; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.“
We know that so many died by the sword, they did not even bury them. They just left their bodies for the vultures and the wild beasts. The easiest death of all was the death by the sword, because it was swift.
Border of Israel: Again, speaking of Riblah (see 2 Kings 25 18-21 and Jeremiah 52:24-27).
Ezekiel 11:11 “This [city] shall not be your caldron, neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof; [but] I will judge you in the border of Israel:”
Jerusalem, with its wall, had always been a place of protection. Now, it will not be. God has judged them, and in so doing, took His hedge of protection away from them.
Ezekiel 11:12 “And ye shall know that I [am] the LORD: for ye have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that [are] round about you.“
The sad thing is, these are God’s chosen people. They had not walked daily in the protection He had provided. We have said before, that those who keep God’s commandments are the children He protects.
They had picked up worship of false gods from their heathen neighbors. They did not stop going through the motion of worshipping God, but their hearts were far from God. They had worshipped false gods, along with doing the rituals of service to God. They had committed spiritual adultery.
Ezekiel 11:13 “And it came to pass, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then fell I down upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel?“
The death of this evil leader brought such shock to Ezekiel, that he feared God would kill all of the Jews, and not leave a remnant. The death of one leader from verse 1 was a sign that God would indeed carry out His word. Apparently, this leader did die suddenly at the time Ezekiel was shown the vision, so that the prophet feared that this death meant death for all Israelites.
We saw in a previous lesson, how those who had not bowed their knee to the false gods were marked upon their foreheads, and not destroyed. The destruction in this vision was so great it overwhelmed Ezekiel, and he fell on his face pleading for the remnant to be spared.
Ezekiel 11:14 “Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,“
There was a break from the other prophecy here. Ezekiel hears the Word of God again. He gives answer to Ezekiel’s question.
Ezekiel 11:15 “Son of man, thy brethren, [even] thy brethren, the men of thy kindred, and all the house of Israel wholly, [are] they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, Get you far from the LORD: unto us is this land given in possession.“
Some of Ezekiel’s own people were involved in this revolt against God. Remember, he had been a priest, so many of the people who came to worship God were classified as Ezekiel’s brothers. They were not obedient to God. They wanted to stay and claim the land God had given them by inheritance.
“Get far away”. The contemptuous words of those still left in Jerusalem at the carrying away of Jeconiah and the exiles indicated that they felt smugly secure and believed the land was their possession. They had forgotten that the land was one of the blessings, if they obeyed God.
Ezekiel was told he had a new family, not the priests at Jerusalem to whom he was tied by blood, but his fellow exiles in Babylon, identified as those who were treated as outcasts. The priesthood was about to be ended and he was to have a new family.
Ezekiel 11:16 “Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.“
“Little sanctuary” is better rendered “for a little while,” i.e. however long the captivity lasted. God was to be the protection and provision for those who had been scattered through all the 70 years until they were restored. The exiles may have cast off the Jews, but God had not. This holds true for the future restoration of the Jews.
God is not just in Israel. He will be with them in their captivity, wherever they are. They had put much emphasis on the temple in Jerusalem. They knew the presence of God had been there. They thought of the temple and God as being inseparable. They had forgotten that God was in the wilderness with His people 40 years on their way to the Promised Land. If they will be faithful to Him and be obedient, He will be with them and protect them, even in a foreign land. God is omnipresent. He can be everywhere all at the same time.
Ezekiel 11:17 “Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.“
God will bring His children home after their captivity. He will be with them in Babylon, but even better is the promise that He will bring them back into their own land. The remnant, which does not die, will go back into the land promised to them through Abraham.
This speaks also of the ultimate, full restoration of Israel in the future Millennium, when the people will have a new heart.
Ezekiel 11:18 “And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.”
There must be a spiritual cleansing in the land. Most of the detestable things would have been burned up in the fire, but anything left, must be destroyed. They must completely cleanse their land from idolatry and false prophets.
Ezekiel 11:19-20 “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh:” “That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
God will change them from the inside. He will give them hearts with feelings to replace the stony hearts they had before. The heart is the center of what we are. God will begin with that, and make them new creatures in Him. The one heart is speaking of their being spiritual unity among them. God will write His laws upon their hearts.
Salvation is a daily walk. Their new lives will be one of obedience, love and respect for their God. God is not so interested in the formality of sacrifices, as He is in His people loving Him and obeying Him. It will be their desire to keep His ordinances. They will not do it from obligation, but because they love Him.
God pledged not only to restore Ezekiel’s people to their ancient land, but to bring the New Covenant with its blessings. This passage goes beyond the return from Babylonian captivity experienced by the Jews under the Persians and speaks of the ultimate, full restoration of Israel in the future Millennium, when the people will have a new heart.
Ezekiel 11:21 “But [as for them] whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD.“
Each person has a free will to worship whom they will. God will not force them to worship Him. If they choose the nothings of this world, like false gods and idols, they will fall into their own traps. God will not help them. God will repay them for their evil, if they are stubborn and will not give up their false gods.
Ezekiel 11:22 “Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel [was] over them above.“
This beautiful presence of God that is almost unexplainable, lifts up above them. This departure of the divine glory in Ezekiel’s vision is a signal that this vision is over.
Ezekiel 11:23 “And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which [is] on the east side of the city.“
God has removed Himself from His city, Jerusalem. His protection is gone. It is as if He is saying, I have spoken, now, let it be. His presence is on the mountain overlooking the city.
As the chariot throne ascends into heaven, the glory of the Lord also rises finally from the city and stands on the Mount of Olives east of the city, then ascends and evidently disappears. Only in the Millennial Temple will this effulgence and beauty, this special presence of God, return to fill the house of God.
Ezekiel 11:24 “Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me.“
You remember, in the early part of this vision, that God had taken Ezekiel by the hair and raised him up to receive this vision. This is just saying, that he was returned to Chaldea where he had been captive at the beginning of this vision. The vision of the wheels and the presence of God went away from Ezekiel, and he remained in Chaldea.
Ezekiel 11:25 “Then I spake unto them of the captivity all the things that the LORD had showed me.“
Once this vision was completed, Ezekiel was able to tell his exiled countrymen what God had shown him.
This is a short sentence that means so much. Ezekiel, who was captive with many from Israel, spoke to his fellow captives.
This prophecy has a promise of restoration to their homeland, to those who truly believe in God. Some of this is an explanation of why they had these troubles. Some of this is showing the terribleness of the decision those made, who stayed in Jerusalem.
The hope is in the remnant that God will be with, even in their captivity.
Ezekiel Chapter 11 Questions
1. What lifted Ezekiel up?
2. Where did He take Ezekiel?
3. How many men did he see there?
4. Who were the 2 princes in verse 1?
5. Who did these men remind us of?
6. What did God tell Ezekiel about these men?
7. Their counsel was _______.
8. What terrible advice did they give the people?
9. What is a “caldron”?
10. Verse 5 says God empowered Ezekiel, how?
11. Who was to blame for the people being slain in the city?
12. What are the various ways the people will be killed?
13. He would deliver them to ___________.
14. Verse 10 says the judgment came for what purpose?
15. What is the sad thing about all of this?
16. Where had they picked up worship of false gods?
17. What effect did it have on Ezekiel, when Pelatiah died?
18. What question did Ezekiel ask God?
19. What had they forgotten about the land?
20. Where is God?
21. What is verse 17 speaking of?
22. What kind of cleansing is verse 18 speaking of?
23. How will God change them?
24. Salvation is a __________ walk.
25. What will happen to the people, who choose the false gods over God?
26. What does the lifting of the glory of the God of Israel signal?
27. How did Ezekiel get back to Chaldea?
28. What did Ezekiel do, when he got back?