National Insecurity Resulting from Unconditional Eternal Security Preachers
With all this in mind, let us turn our attention to Ezekiel 13:1-23. Ezekiel prophesies against the false prophets who were ignorant of “the Day of the LORD”, and what was it? It was a day of “battle” (Ezek. 13:5). Speaking directly to the false prophets, God said,
“Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the Day of the LORD.” – Ezek. 13:5
“Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter:” – Ezek. 13:10
Can the Armies of Babylon prevail against the Gates of Jerusalem, the Church? No real peace means no real security, my reader. The murderous deception that was ministered by the false prophets was herein depicted in the scenery of war, and for good reason. Notice that God spoke of a day of “battle” and an unprepared wall (“daubed it with untempered morter” – Ezek. 13:10). This meant that the people were unfortified by the wall that they believed was fortifying. Their trust was misplaced and erroneously applied to the unprotected gates and walls of the Church! The false prophets deceived them, you see. The peace-preaching of false prophets taught the people that the gates and walls of the Church were war-worthy and impregnable, even though the breaches were filled with untempered mortar. This was a fitting illustration for the endangered people. This was a true witness. As noted before, the LORD left the Church to assemble and join the armies of heathen men for war against Judah and Jerusalem, and, behold, the walls were unfortified! This we know, but further commentary on Jewish Law pertaining to victory or loss at war is necessary to understand the depth of what is being criticized in Ezekiel 13:5 and Ezekiel 13:9-16. Please, let me explain.
By Law, when God illustrated the scenario of war, as long as the people weren’t backslidden the LORD assured them that He promised to sustain Israelite protection and defense against all enemies that would invade. With the blessing of Deuteronomy 28:7 and Leviticus 26:6-8, inevitable victory against invaders was reality. In other words, this was the Church against whom the Gates of Hell could not prevail (Matt. 16:18)! Jerusalem’s gates and walls were un-breach-able and impregnable! In Old Testament terminology, it was written,
“The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.” – Deut. 28:7
“And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” – Lev. 26:6-8
These promises proved to be real surety in the face of impossible circumstances; in real wars, shockwaves of Israelite victories gripped the nations with fear! The ripple effect went worldwide, and the nations esteemed the Israelite God as a God of war, but who knew it more? Those smitten by the Presence of God or those empowered to smite standing in the Presence of God? None knew it more than the darling ransom of God, Israel by name! Every Israelite learned to herald and hope in the good confession: “The LORD is a Man of war: the LORD is His Name” (Ex. 15:3). Therefore, though the Israelites did cleave their hands to swords and spears, and so make ready for the battle charge, they never shouted the courageous hoorah until the sacrifice was made! Nay, though the army was arrayed and at attention, every man’s valiance was stayed until the ark of God entered the camp! The military acclamation of the Israelite army was: “The LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S” (1 Sam. 17:47)! Hands may have cleaved to swords, but hearts only to the Lord.
As it is with the weaponry of “hand to hand” combat, so it is in the case of Israel’s walls and fortified Cities. Normally, high walls and fortified Cities were built for protection and the vantage point against invaders at war; but in Israel God was the vantage point. Therefore, if Israel built fortified Cities of high walls and towers, they may have looked down from the height of the walls and towers, indeed, but their hearts looked up to the LORD! They were not out of reach of the enemy, except by the hiding place of God’s Presence. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him” (Ps. 62:5), they prayed! “Thou art my Hiding Place and my shield: I hope in Thy word” (Ps. 119:114), “for Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy” (Ps. 61:3); “my fortress…my buckler…and my high tower” (Ps. 18:1), they confessed!
Fortresses of war may have been the pride of heathen nations, maybe so. Thereby the heathen peoples were emboldened to boast against other nations and devour the defenseless at will, but Israelites painfully disdained this pride and re-attributed all success at war to the glory of God. The Israelites were not proud, blood-thirsty, warmongers, no! The psalmists of Israel gloried in humility instead of pride! They gloried in what the heathen accused as vulnerability at war and irresponsibility in strategy. And, yet, “Thou shalt hide them in the secret of Thy presence from the pride of man” (Ps. 31:20), the psalmist declared! Every Israelite knew that “the Name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Prov. 18:10), HALLELUJAH!
Watchmen stood awake until daybreak and the alarm of war made ready the soldiers for war, but the prophets’ preaching kept men from vain hopes deceiving. They preached, “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, whose heart departeth from the LORD” (Jer. 17:5). You see, this was a different alarm than the sound of the battle horn. The prophets alarmed men to the watchful eye of their Maker. They declared the LORD as the supreme matter of war. If men could wake up to God, then He will awake for them at a time of war. Thus, it was written, “Except the LORD keep the City, the watchman waketh but in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Indeed! But, let us also understand, the sleepless LORD who kept and sustained the walls of Israelite Cities could also break down the physical barriers of fortification. Speaking of this, God said,
“So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” – Ezek. 13:14
According to Ezekiel 13:14, it was not the wall that protected Israel. God did. He was angry and broke down the wall! And before He physically destroyed the wall (the inordinate trust of the people) He rebuked false prophets, saying, “Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the House of Israel to stand in the battle in the Day of the LORD” (Ezek. 13:5). The LORD referred to the gaps or hedges in a wall, but what wall was the jobsite of Prophets? Prophets were neither masons nor carpenters and were likely unknowledgeable of how to build a wall. Nevertheless, this was the subject of description in Ezekiel 13:1-23 directed to false Prophets. Furthermore, it is evident that the physical walls of protection circling fortified Cities were representative of spiritual barriers provided by the promises of God. When the Israelites were unbeatable because they were blessed by the power of God, this meant that the spiritual walls of Israel were impregnable, unbreakable, and un-breach-able. In the words of the people, this meant: “We have a strong City; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks” (Isa. 26:1)!
The walls of the City were sustained by God’s hand, my reader (“the Glory shall be a defense” – Isa. 4:5)! “God is known in [the Cities] palaces for a refuge” (Ps. 48:3)! The walls were protected and sustained by a spiritual barrier via the promises of God (Ps. 5:12)! Therefore, if the promises of God were breached and invading aliens did attack, they would breach the walls of inept fortification and conquer. When the physical wall was without a spiritual wall, the physical would crumble. The invader’s victory through the breached physical walls was only a physical manifestation of the wrath of God which already breached the Israelite promises of salvation (the spiritual barrier). My reader, do you remember how Satan was rendered powerless to harm Job because of the spiritual barrier or hedge that God had put around him? Satan said to God, speaking of Job, “Hast not Thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side” (Job 1:10)? And, do you remember how this spiritual barrier was eventually taken away by God, so that, suddenly, the Sabeans and the Chaldeans successfully invaded Job’s property, robbed him, and slew his servants (Job 1:15, 17)? This is a perfect parallel to the status of invincibility and vulnerability pertaining to Israel and Judah as a Nation and People, the Church. Speaking of the vitality of this spiritual barrier in a time of God’s wrath against His people, it was written,
“Therefore He said that He would destroy them, had not Moses His chosen stood before Him in the breach [gap], to turn away His wrath, lest He should destroy them” - Psalm 106:23
Prophets were not builders of physical walls, were they (Ezek. 13:5)? So, what was Moses doing and what did the false prophets of Ezekiel’s day fail to do? The Prophets were employed to look after the well-being of spiritual barriers by knowing the conditions to and the breach-ability of the promises of God (“ye shall know My breach of promise” – Num. 13:34), and in so doing they made sure the spiritual hedge of Israel was intact. When God was angry, like in Psalm 106:23, the people would move from a status of security to insecurity. In other words, the spiritual barrier of protection would be proportionately breached according to the sins committed by the people and the divine wrath that was consequentially kindled. In real-time, it wouldn’t be long before an invading host would arrive to breach the physical walls of the Cities of Israel and Judah, the Church. For an example of God’s anger via physical manifestations, the LORD said,
“And I will set My face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.” – Lev. 26:17
“And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of My Covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your Cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.” – Lev. 26:25
Albeit, before the physical manifestation of wrath did ever arrive so that the physical walls of Israelite Cities would be breached, the LORD would reveal the matter to the Prophets. They would see the spiritual barrier of God’s protection breached, like Moses in Psalm 106:23, and if that Prophet stood in the breach to turn away God’s wrath and availed, then the City was saved and the physical manifestation of their destruction never arrived! In this context, it was said of Moses, “Moses His chosen stood before Him in the breach [gap], to turn away His wrath…” (Ps. 106:23). Thus, if enemy nations conspired against Israel or Judah, saying, “let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it,” “it [should] not stand, neither [should] it come to pass” unless God inspired them to bring it to pass by breaching the spiritual hedge (Isa. 7:6).
You see, my reader? Are you comprehending the spiritual-to-physical transition of things? And, in the progress of time, do you see how the Prophet’s Intercession (gap-filling, breach-amending, hedge-building) is a nation-saving employment? Think of it, my reader! The Prophets heard the alarm of war (Jer. 4:21) from the trumpet of watchmen long before the invaders were spotted on the horizon! As if they heard it in real-time during the actual event, the Prophet’s heard the sounding alarm of invading armies long before the day came. They heard it as a spiritual revelation; they saw it as a vision; they were overcome and outwitted by it as a revelation in the Spirit of God! It was as if they were “caught up” (2 Cor. 12:4), and they could say, “so the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me” (Ezek. 3:14), “whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth” (2 Cor. 12:3). They felt future realities at present! They experienced them. As if they were in the death-grip of a Giant Man, they were overcome by them! Foregoing the judgment of God upon the backslidden people, the Prophet’s emotions were alarmed by the wrath of God, their ears by the noises of war, and their eyes by the travailing multitudes in pain under the suffering to come! It was then that these prophets did take upon themselves the holy and exhausting endeavor to wrestle the wrath of God, if haply, they would be granted grace and holy boldness to rise and stand against it, which is what it means to intercede. Before the actual manifestation of the wrath of God through invading armies that made war against Israel, the threat of overthrow and death was spiritually alive and real. Sadly, though, it was often unseen and unheard except by true Prophets who were ridiculed and rejected.
At times like these, the Prophets were the only hope. The Prophets who stood in the breach “stood between the dead and the living,” pressed, as it were, in conflicts of eternity, even as Aaron was when he “stood between the dead and the living” as the plague of wrath broke forth upon Israel at the events surrounding the gainsaying of Korah (Numbers 16:46-48). Can you imagine it? Moses and Aaron frantically casting their holy bodies upon the ground! Having fallen upon their faces they dared not look up, and they pled and cried petitions of mercy! Moses and Aaron interceded against God’s wrath set, at present, to fully annihilate Israel (Num. 16:45). Crying and pleading, the face of Moses lifted from the ground and gave a brisk command to Aaron: “Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun” (Num. 16:46)! Aaron, leaping from his knees to his feet with his priestly gown covered in dust, sprinted with all his might across the camp of Israel toward the Tabernacle. Like running through the chaos of modern warfare, Aaron ran in full stride across the camp, and, meanwhile, the plague was breaking forth upon the people like airborne artillery falling from the sky! As Aaron’s chest was heaving for air, he prepared the censer of incense. Making it ready, he then “ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague [had] begun among the people… and he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed” (Num. 16:47-48). HOW FEARFUL!
My reader, what an astonishing scene! …do you see how time-sensitive intercession is? At the time that Aaron took to run to and fro to prepare the intercession, let me ask you: how many thousands dead stacked upon thousands? How many died before Aaron had the time to stand right before the dead like a spiritual wall of protection from the plague, and thus, at the moment of his intercession the plague of wrath was shielded. That sober stand of Aaron, how fearful! As it is in physical war, so it was in divine plagues of wrath---every second counts! Is this how seriously you take intercession, dear Christian? Aaron, hasting for the intercessory stand, took a good while… and how precious were those passing seconds for the living and the dead on that day! During the plague, though it was eventually stayed, in the elapse of time thereto “fourteen thousand and seven hundred” Israelites died (Num. 16:49). Real intercession stands to reflect and turn back real forces of wrath! Even so, all intercessors stand for the noble cause of mercy and life. Many generations after Aaron, for example, the Prophets still wrestled against spiritual forces of wrath. The wrath of God was equally as dangerous but not as immediately manifest. The wrath of God was soon-to-be manifest, not as plagues but as invading armies. Therefore, these Prophets, like Aaron, were engaged in the time-press of urgency because souls hung in the balance! Likewise, as Aaron, the people were being slain before their very eyes! Before the Prophets’ eyes was the same gripping scenery of Israelite slaughter as thousands fell and tens of thousands lifted their weeping cries to heaven. What do I mean? Such visions seized the prophets in heart-wrenching agony, my reader! And, that, long before the actual event arrived. The Prophets didn’t only hear the sound of the trumpet and the alarm of war (yet to come), but voices of men and women weeping like an aerial view of nationwide devastation (Jer. 3:21, 4:15)! How would you respond if you suddenly saw and heard such things as prophetic revelation blasted upon your human frame? Jeremiah said,
“For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! For my soul is wearied because of murderers” - Jer. 4:31
The howling agony of the future they did see in their now! They heard it beforehand so that the prophesying of its coming would electrify their prophetic cries to a sleepy nation in need of alarm! Millions slumbering on the brink of woe would be disturbed to behold a man in agony, a Prophet! Can a man such as this be altogether ignored? Can the waters of emotion be altogether unstirred when they behold a man in the agony of the message and murder to come? Howling and crying, holy men would pierce the hearts of unholy men, for sure! Channels only, can you imagine the Prophets living out the animation of such prophetic words, like,
“Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.” - Isa. 13:6-8
My reader, before the nationwide face of Israel was as flames – terror-stricken with amazement! – they did behold a Prophet enflamed, amazed, speechless, weeping, and rent asunder! Have mercy LORD! The Prophets, arising time and time again to go from gate to gate, they preached and pled: “Thus saith the LORD!” It was a breaking burden! Thus, it was declared,
“The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land. A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease. Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it. My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath He turned into fear unto me.” - Isa. 21:1-4
Can you imagine it? What if you were a Prophet who dwelt in Israel, just going about your daily business… or, perhaps you were in the middle a sweet hour of prayer, and suddenly! You heard the trumpet-blast of the watchman’s horn sounding its citywide alarm in your ears! Then, after the trumpet’s sound did blast you into heart-pounding attention! After, I say, the fear of annihilation and death gripped your soul! Then, in this state of emotional grip under the sensation of God, the very words of the LORD forcefully pounded into your heart with spiritual power and authority! My reader, this is the reason why the Prophets trembled. Being impacted by the message they did sigh and cry. They were dwelling in the spiritual reality of what would soon blast upon a condemned people! Suddenly, they too would be made to tremble! But, alas, if they had been made to tremble with the Prophet they might have escaped the hour of wrath and judgment. If only they had spiritual ears to hear! Nevertheless, agony would seize the people the very moment they heard the actual trumpet of the watchman sound from their city wall. The Prophets did see and hear things like this to amplify the message preached. Their bodily image made real the words so that the people could see what danger they were in at that very moment, if haply they might understand that personal and national security were breached because the promises were, at present, being breached! This is the experience of a true Prophet under the alarm of wrath, but false prophets preached the seductions of peace to a people in need of repentance. False prophets candy-coat poison by preaching the sweetness of the promises of God to a people disqualified from them. Their ministry was like a silent bite of a venomous serpent while walking through the pricks of a thorny swamp. Like life-threatening venom moving through the veins of the body, so are false prophets through the City streets. “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and My people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof” (Jer. 5:31)?
False prophets did see and hear false messages of peace, my reader. They were deaf to the alarms of God. Their theology of Unconditional Eternal Security forbade wrath and breaches, and if there was a breach in the wall of God’s promised protection for Israel, they would neither have the courage or selfless care to stand in the gap and build it up again so that the wrath of God would not enter the City. “Ye have not gone up into the gaps,” God said, “neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD” (Ezek. 13:5). Intercession is city-saving, and at the hour of wrath, the mercy of God looks for a man to stand in the breach! It was written, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge [the spiritual wall], and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out Mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD” (Ezek. 22:30-31). False prophets wear the clothes of an intercessor, but it was a lying vanity; their garments were neither rent nor dusty, neither ashy nor worn. God said of them, they did NOT stand in the breach! They did NOT build up the spiritual wall!
“Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the Day of the LORD.” – Ezek. 13:5
“And My hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies… because, even because they have seduced My people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter” – Ezek. 13:9-10
“And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken” - Ezek. 22:28
The false prophets did, however, deceptively build-up the spiritual wall and fill the breaches with untempered mortar! They promised the peace of an intact spiritual hedge over the people, but it was a counterfeit trust. Do you see it? The true Prophets preached and applied the promises of God in their rightful places, thus the people’s perception of the spiritual barrier was accurate. They gave true warnings in their rightful places, ensuring the performance of the promises. False Prophets, on the other hand, fantasized that they were building the spiritual wall and ensuring its blessing by misapplied promises. Their intercessory-standing and gap-building was a deception. They preached misapplied promises to a disqualified people, thinking all was well. As builders, they had an improper ratio of water and limestone. As Prophets, they had an improper understanding of security and vulnerability (goodness and severity). In other words, they were building the wall and filling the breach with a false promise. They bolstered the confidence of the people by putting their trust in untempered mortar! False promises of peace gave the perception that the wall of God’s protection was standing firm, but they failed to turn away the wrath of God in the midst of a spiritual dilemma like the crumbling of an untempered wall! Therefore, the wrath of God came and the actual walls of the defensed Cities were breached. At last, the Cities were taken and the people were ravaged with destruction. Speaking of this, the LORD said,
“Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it. Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in Mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it. So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it; To wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD.” - Ezek. 13:11-16
“Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant.” - Isa 30:13
A breach in an actual City wall meant sure destruction for the City. Even more so, the breaches of God’s promises meant destruction for all. The breach of the spiritual barrier of God’s protection meant disaster! The entire Civilization, literally, and every aspect of Israelite livelihood was supported by the promises of God, remember that! The promises of God were the true defenders of Israel against alien foes! If the promises were broken (“ye shall know My breach of promise” – Num. 13:34), so was the wall. The false prophets spoke “peace” – they promised the people the security of salvation while they were rebellious, disqualified, and impenitent. In principle, the false prophets believed the promises of salvation were unconditional and un-breach-able. They were believers in Unconditional Eternal Security. Using another metaphorical term, for example, God spoke on this wise: tearing down His oath-bound protection and blessing, He said, “And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my Vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down” (Isaiah 5:5). A generation given over to such breaches of promise (resulting in the utter loss of security) were made to cry to God the lamentation, “Why hast Thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her” (Psalm 80:12)? “Thou hast broken down all his hedges; Thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin” (Psalm 89:40)! It was for good reason, my reader. The LORD answered Ezekiel’s generation, and said,
“Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life: Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” – Ezek. 13:22-23
This was the false Prophet’s handiwork of horror in plain language, no metaphors involved. Their sin-excusing preaching took the form of elaborate visions and illustrations, like the true Prophets, and this was the end result: they “strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way” (Ezek. 13:22-23). Even so, the LORD said, “Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy Captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment” (Lam. 2:14). This was the conclusion of the whole matter, my reader. The Church, with walls impregnable and armies undefeatable, was rendered vulnerable and insecure at the instant the Glory of God departed. False Prophets, with deceptions innumerable and diabolical love inexhaustible, wooed the sin-sick people to the irreversible threshold.