The Good Figs Weren’t Good
You see, my reader, after 3 Babylonian Captivities had already been suffered by the Jews who were the occupants of the Kingdom of Judah, and, also, a good 11 years into the Tribulation Period, Zedekiah came to power by the appointment of Babylon. Furthermore, at the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign (5 years before Ezekiel’s ordination) Jeremiah prophesied of Good Figs and Vile Figs (Good Figs: Jer. 24:5-7, 29:4-15; Evil Figs: Jer. 24:8-10, 29:16-19). This was the first time the two populations were so clearly segregated thus: the hopeful and the hopeless! Right on time, God wanted a vessel to bear His Name and speak His Word among the Jews in Captivity at Babylon, the location of the Good Figs, while Jeremiah continued to abide in Jerusalem to prophesy to the Evil Figs. This was the God’s Master Plan: In glorious concert one with another, Ezekiel and Jeremiah shouldered the immense burden of the hour – a time when, from differing locations amidst differing populations of Jews with contrary destinies, their prophesying was interactive with and directed toward both peoples and events happening in both places! They were Tribulation Prophets who prophesied amidst the Great Falling Away of their time.
At the onset of Ezekiel’s ministry, and telling of the reasons for his ordination, the impenitent conduct of the Good Figs as they existed then and the method employed to bring them to repentance was pointedly emphasized. Let this sink down into your ears, my reader! Ezekiel was raised up to combat the deception which was whelming to devour the basket of Good Figs! Oh, how long had they been romanced by lies!? How hardly would they divorce the erroneous doctrines they held so dear, namely Unconditional Eternal Security! May the LORD rebuke it.
Ezekiel, being carried away in the 3rd Captivity (Ezek. 1:2), was commissioned as a Prophet to the people of the Captivities, the Good Figs, but, my reader… they weren’t good yet! The people identified by God as the Good Figs were in such a deplorable estate that the LORD called them “impudent”, “stiffhearted”, “rebellious”, and “hardhearted” (Ezek. 2:3-4, 7, 3:7). This was not an easy situation. These people were so wretched and stouthearted, Ezekiel was commanded by God, “And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious House” (Ezek. 2:6). Being so late in the Tribulation Period, one might wonder why Ezekiel was raised up! With only 6 years left until the last major Captivity of Judah would take place (the 5th Captivity), what was his purpose?
My reader, Ezekiel was sent to the Good Figs (who weren’t good) to be a voice for the impending judgments which would make them good! Ezekiel was there to be an onsite Prophet to teach them to Embrace Tribulation. You see, God’s eyes were fastened upon every single soul of the children of Israel and Judah in the Captivities, and especially those in Babylon who were identified by God as the Good Figs; the LORD was looking for men and women who – through tribulation – would repent and do righteousness. Without tribulation, no one would! The good man had perished from the earth and the faithful failed from among the children of men, but God was able to make bad men good again (Ps. 12:1)! God’s prerogative was Church Purity through tribulation. God’s purpose in punishment was an eventual regathering of the people so that He might assume immediate sovereignty over them once again. Therefore, the LORD’s eyes were upon the wicked of the Church to execute increasing increments of judgment until they died to their wickedness or died in their wickedness, one or the other! The LORD would not let wicked Israelites live for the regathering so as to incorporate them back into the Church, no! This would contradict the entire purpose of the Tribulation Period.
You see, before the regathering there needed to be a scattering. Before the restoration there needed to be a tribulation; and this tribulation was a purifying, refining, and annihilating fire. The objects of annihilation were proven thus through the tribulation; therefore, they were unredeemable men. The objects of refinement were proven thus through the tribulation; therefore, they were redeemable men. And the two categories of men, the Evil Figs and the Good Figs, were segregated by the sovereign selection of God in their various appointments of circumstance and situation, suffering and tribulation, ending in life or death. All this, for a 70-year period. Despite the long duration of time passing, the meticulous design was steadfast and God’s intimate oversight was impeccable. It was a hand-selected and hand-made tribulation conducted by God. The hands of Omnipotent Sovereignty searched, tried, and proved every man, woman, and child for the 70-year period, to the end: the regathered Church would be entirely clean (Isa. 52:1, Zech. 14:21, Ezek. 36:29, 33), without defilement (Ezek. 11:18, 37:23, 43:7), utterly loyal (Ezek. 14:11), and without idols (Zech. 13:2, Ezek. 20:37-42, 36:25, Hos. 14:8), thence to live forever in the Holy Land (Amos 9:11-15, Jer. 31:40)! Furthermore, in this, the Glory of God would return to the Church, the fame of God would astound the World, and the purposes and promises of God would be fulfilled (For more information, see: The Church Defined, Recalled, and Revived and or Chapters 1, 2, 3, & 4, of The Church Realized).