The Installment of an Onsight Prophet to Rescue the Good Figs
Herein, the ministry of Ezekiel finds significance. The purpose of his prophesying was focused and precise! Firstly, he was sent to the rescue of the Good Figs which were presently impenitent and deceived by false prophets. To do so, and secondarily, Ezekiel needed to derail the crash-course of the people both near and far (in the Land of Babylon and in the Land of Judah), thus he needed to convince the people through prophecy that the Kingdom of Judah would irreparably fall, the Temple would be destroyed, the City of Jerusalem would be burned and eventually become uninhabited, and, for the fulfillment of these unaccomplished events of prophecy, further Captivities were inevitable (the 4th, 5th, and 6th Captivities).
The Majesty of the Lord in Tribulatory Judgments of Life & Death
Resistance was not only futile, but deadly! In the midst of it all, God was looking to and fro for any wicked Israelite who would not repent, and God appointed him to die; God was looking to and fro for any wicked Israelite who would repent, and God appointed him to live; God was looking for any righteous Israelite who would not keep the way of righteousness, and God appointed him to die; God was looking for any righteous Israelite who would keep the way of righteousness, and God appointed him to live unto the eventual regathering of the Church or the bequeathing of his legacy to another righteous generation. The ever-present searching and sifting hands of God controlled every sword, fastened every chain, selected every captive, ordered every scattering, starved everyone famished, and slew everyone sick by pestilence! He, the LORD, gathered every army, timed every success or failure, enriched or impoverished every strategy, breached or bolstered every wall, and lit or extinguished every fire! And, in the glory of it all, He ordained Prophets to tell the story. He ordained Prophets that He might get all the glory! Herein Ezekiel’s ministry finds significance, my reader.
In the plainest terms, this plan was revealed in relationship to Ezekiel’s ministry at his ordination in Ezekiel 3:17-21. Furthermore, at pivotal moments in the Tribulation Period, the LORD reiterated the majestic plan of Ezekiel’s ministry in Ezekiel 18:1-32 and Ezekiel 33:1-20. By way of introduction, my reader, behold the God-to-Prophet relationship in the midst of the Tribulation Period – a period defined by the pounding blows of an Angry God, and, meanwhile, the aggravated and blasphemously impenitent multitudes, therefore the whole population of the Church must be immersed in the fires of tribulation! Then, and only then, a remnant of righteous persons would arise to give glory to God and bear witness to the nations! With this in mind, the man Ezekiel was sitting astonished by the River Chebar for 7 days, and then…
“And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have made thee a Watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” – Ezek. 3:16-21
You see, my reader? God’s warnings through the Prophets of the Tribulation (delivered to righteous and wicked men) were of the utmost importance and urgency! They were perfectly synchronized with the judgments of God and successfully communicated to every ear in need of the message, or else there’s blood-guiltiness. They were messengers in the midst of an annihilating redemption process called, the Great Tribulation, and every message meant life or death to someone! God was looking, ever looking – seeing this man turn here, and that man turn there, the one to life and the other to death! At last, the righteous would be forced to declare that the LORD was sovereign over the seeming chaos of death on every side! Amidst the sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts, the LORD was trustworthy and true to His word to grant life to the righteous and death to the wicked, no exceptions! What He promised He performed! As it was written and sung by righteous men of old, when they worshipfully declared,
“I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.” – Psalm 91:1-16
The above description demonstrates the verity of the promise, “Thou shalt surely live” (Ezek. 3:21). To survive and live in the midst of a divinely orchestrated hurricane of death is, and cannot be anything but, a divine wonder! The description of Psalm 91:1-16 was a living reality for those who believed the word of God through Ezekiel, “Thou shalt surely live” (Ezek. 3:21). Psalm 91:1-16 was not poetry, but reality! Can you see it?
The voice of God during the Tribulation Period was so active with prophecies so numerous, 100 Chapters of inspired scripture are concentrated on a 22-year period (52 by Jeremiah and 48 by Ezekiel)! And this, understandably so, because the LORD was pushing every man of the populous to humanities’ limit – to their wits end, and then… – and this, by increasing increments of judgment, with intermittent pleas that men would choose life and live, because, meanwhile, horrific illustrations of foreboding evils were prophesied to come and signaled by lively demonstrations from Spirit-filled Tribulation Prophets. How astonishing the sight! How alarming the sound! They were voices for present-tense situations befalling helplessly doomed men except they heard the voice of God and lived. Through the Tribulation Prophets and the tribulation, God would be known as the LORD by all! …whether by life or by death.