By Greg Turner
greg@sharingtheway.com

The Lord just had me read an entire book called Ezekiel. I kept thinking why am I reading this. As I pondered it I began to realize something that I heard a long time ago. Ezekiel prophesied about the destruction of Israel because of their sins. But, Ezekiel wrote his prophecy starting in the 5th year of king Jehoiachin’s (of Judah) captivity which was about 593BC (Ez. 1). Nebuchadnezzar had taken Jerusalem into captivity in 598BC (2 Kings 24) and apparently Ezekiel was among those taken back to Babylon and deported to an area around the river Chebar which was a fairly long way north of the capitol city Babylon (about 50 miles). Ezekiel is then given a number of prophecies to give to the children of Israel (Ez. 2:3). It is important to note, however, that Israel was already in captivity. They were conquered by the Assyrians and taken into captivity around 722BC by Sargon II (2 Kings 17:5). So why is Ezekiel given a prophecy about the destruction of Israel if they are already in captivity and have been for 130 years?

Clearly it is a prophecy for the future. Who are these future Israelites? Many people have tried to track the wanderings of the lost tribes of Israel using different methods such as tracking the movement of flags or standards (like those on castles) or digging up burial grounds and measuring skull shapes and so forth. These efforts are all fruitless. The goal of the Assyrians in deporting people was to mix them up with other races and peoples so that they could not rise up again. This was by design by God. Trying to find the actual long lost tribes of Israel is not the solution. It is also wrong to assume the tribe of Judah (present day state of Israel) is all of Israel. The New Testament gives us a clue as to who Israel is today and hence the title of this article. We see the priests tell Herod:

Matthew 2:6(KJV) 6And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

This is speaking about Jesus the messiah who was born to rule Israel. There is a link between those of the kingdom of God and the name Israel. It can get confusing because Jesus then sends his 12 apostles out to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:6). They were not to go to the gentiles at all (at least not until much later). We also see another clue of the future identity of Israel:

Matthew 10:23(KJV) 23But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

This is not talking about in the time of the apostles since here we are about 1915 years later (John died around 95AD) and the Son of man has not come yet. What are these cities of Israel?

Matthew 19:28(KJV) 28And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jesus was indentifying His body as Israel. The cities of Israel are the churches of today. How can this be? Are not the churches of today all those who are baptized in the name of Christ? Yes. Just because someone calls themselves Christian or of Christ does not mean that they are living it!

We see a transformation from the apostles preaching and teaching to Israel to those who are called of Christ becoming Israel. Paul says:

Romans 9:6-8(KJV) 6Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel7Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

In other words all who are called to Christ are a part of Israel both Jew and Gentile. Jew meaning anyone circumcised in the flesh which would include all that were a part of the lost tribes that the apostles were sent to. Those who are the circumcised physically are not the body of Christ, but instead all who are baptized make up the body of Christ. Paul further just flat out calls the body of Christ Israel:
Galatians 6:16(KJV) 16And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Next we find out about the remnant in the following:

Romans 9:25-27(KJV) 25As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. 26And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. 27Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

Israel is huge, but only a remnant is to be saved. Paul further emphasizes this:

Romans 11:1-5(KJV) 1I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, 3Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. 5Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

There are a huge number of people in the churches and outside today (maybe a billion or more) that call themselves of Christ or take on the name of Christ in some way. We know this is Israel and we know only a remnant is going to be saved! The original apostles were told the following:

Acts 1:8(KJV) 8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth[Gentiles].

They were sent first to Jerusalem which is where the temple is or the hierarchy of the church at that time – the Scribes, Pharisees, Lawyers and Sadducees – which is comparable to the church leadership today. Then they were sent to all of Judaea which would be the body of the church today or the church members, and then they were sent to Samaria which were those people who had a form of belief in Judaism, but were not Jews. Those would be all the people who believe in God or Christ, but are not in the church system (which in America alone is about 178M people). Then the apostles were to go to the rest of the earth. Now the focus here is on Israel and not the gentiles, for Ezekiel’s message was to Israel.

Out of all these people only a remnant is going to survive – be saved! Most churches will dismiss this. Yet, why did Jesus say “Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things” (Matt. 17:11). Also in Malachi:

Malachi 4:5-6(KJV) 5Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Now some say this was fulfilled by John the Baptist and so did Jesus, yet Jesus said Elijah will come. Jesus did not say things that he did not mean and then have them recorded for us. He means it. Why? What needs to be straightened and restored? Well, look around! How can America have 76% of it’s population call themselves of Christ and yet the news is filled with non-stop bloody crimes? Ezekiel said to “Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence.” (Ez. 7:23). It is because the churches are not teaching and warning the people of Israel to change! So all the people need to be warned and told that Jesus is here and will soon come! That is what the John the Baptist taught. That is why Jesus prophesied it. People need to make their ways straight! They need to get in alignment with Christ! This message is also to all the Watchmen out there and all who will hear. You have been sent to Israel:

Ezekiel 3:4-5(KJV)4And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. 5For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel;

God’s messengers and church leaders are sent to Israel, not to people who can’t understand them. If you do not go then be warned of the following:

Ezekiel 3:17-21(KJV)17Son 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. 18When 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. 19Yet 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. 20Again, 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. 21Nevertheless 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.

In other words you have been given a job to do by Christ. The Spirit will lead the way. Do not be afraid for most likely you have been in a cave being trained for some time (I Kings 18:13, Ez. 3:10). If you do not do it then the blood of those people will be on your head! Yet, do not be dismayed when they do not hear you or do not believe you for God already knows that:

Ezekiel 3:7(KJV)7But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.

It is a tough job for the messengers of God, but that is precisely why they need to be sent. The people are hardhearted (unrepentant), but they must be warned. Why is this needed? Because the church (Jerusalem – Ez. 5:5-6) has changed the commands of Christ (Matt. 5-7) into their own set of rules laying a burden on the people that He did not give, and thereby, causing the people to think that they need to follow a particular church or denomination to be saved. They need to follow Christ! The way of Christ and God is love. It is not about a set of rules. How are the rules of some church today any different than those things that the Pharisees laid upon the people of their day? How about teaching those things that Christ taught?

Because the sanctuary (church) has been defiled God is going to strike Israel:

Ezekiel 5:11-12(KJV)11Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity. 12A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.

You are looking at a 90% attrition rate if the people do not repent! These are the same plagues described in Revelation and also in Ez. 7. It is the reason that only a remnant will survive. Yet, earlier we saw that if a man will repent God will forgive him. Any person can become a part of the remnant being saved. Just repent. This is the same message preached by John the Baptist, Jesus and then the Apostles. Repent of what? Are not these things “Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence”(Ez. 7:23) happening today? And how about:

Ezekiel 8:3(KJV)3And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem[the church], to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.

The churches are worshipping something other than Christ (how about Christmas and Easter for example). Why is Christmas so important? Doesn’t it cause everyone to go into debt every year? How can that be following Christ? I had an overdraft fee at the bank and I went there to tell them that I made a mistake and that I could not afford to pay it and that I needed the money to feed my kids. The guy said sorry we can’t remove it as it is bank policy – Merry Christmas – and then he walked off. So forget about Matt. 5:42, but Merry Christmas. They charge usury and increase and afflict the poor and could care less. They don’t think that God is watching. They are all worshiping something other than Christ:

Ezekiel 8:9-12(KJV)9And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here[in the church]. 10So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about11And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients[leaders] of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand[false worship]; and a thick cloud of incense went up[praying to false gods – like Mary or a TV star]. 12Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery[TVs, etc.]? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth[no one believes God is really real].

Can we not see it? Everyone is worshipping something other than Christ. I have done it myself. It is hard to purge these things from our systems. We are not used to following God. We are used to following idols. We must repent. How can we spend 20 hours a week watching TV worshipping some TV star(Ez. 14:1-5) and then go to church for 15 minutes thinking we are of Christ? God is keeping track of those who care:

Ezekiel 9:4(KJV) 4And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

Do you care? You better start. All the people are in this together. For if the land gets destroyed as God promised above it will affect everyone. These are the things that we need to repent of:

Ezekiel 18:4-9(NKJV) 4    “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father  As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die. 5But if a man is just And does what is lawful and right; 6If he has not eaten on the mountains, Nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife[adultery],  Nor approached a woman during her impurity; 7If he has not oppressed anyone,  But has restored to the debtor his pledge[forgiven debt];  Has robbed no one by violence, But has given his bread to the hungry And covered the naked with clothing; 8If he has not exacted usury[interest on loans] Nor taken any increase[more fees on top of interest], But has withdrawn his hand from iniquity[harming others] And executed true judgment between man and man[no loopholes in the judicial system]; 9If he has walked in My statutes And kept My judgments faithfully— He is just; He shall surely live!”  Says the Lord GOD.

Basically, these are the same things that Jesus taught. Stop fornicating, committing adultery, stealing, putting heavy debts on others, stopping violence (especially in the home), no usury (interest), helping the poor and dealing fairly with each other in love (Matt. 5-7). It is time for the leaders of the churches to preach the truth or they will not enter into the kingdom (Ez. 13) for they preach “out of their own hearts” and “follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing”. They “have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. 7Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken?” They do these things to get people to follow them. That is what vanity is all about. They need to change and teach people to follow God and the teachings of Christ instead of gathering them into their own kingdoms.

There is hope. All we have to do is repent (Ez. 14:6). That is the good news of the gospel that Jesus preached. God will save the remnant:

Ezekiel 11:14-20(KJV)14Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 15Son 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[false church] have said, Get you far from the LORD: unto us is this land given in possession. 16Therefore 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[the true believers in Christ]. 17Therefore 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[future inheritance comes from God – eternal life]. 18And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. 19And 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 an heart of flesh: 20That 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.

And similarly:

Hebrews 8:10-12(KJV)10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all[all in Israel] shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

If the laws are in us then we will be doing them. If we are not then this warning is for us. This warning from Ezekiel is for Israel today. It is not just for America but for all the church (those who call themselves Christian or of Christ or of God) throughout all the world. There are many “cities” (churches) that God’s servants must go and give this warning to. Yet, He has raised up many to do this. It is already starting. Those servants (you know who you are) must warn the people so that there might be hope that they will repent and turn back God’s judgment that we saw in Ez. 5!

In Christ’s Name,
Greg Turner
greg@sharingtheway.com

 

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