Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel the priest according to the vision he received beginning in the fifth year of the captivity of Jehoaichin king of Judah. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twenty-one through twenty through twenty-three of this Old Testament book. SET THY FACE TOWARD JERUSALEM! DROP THY WORD TOWAR THE HOLY PLACES! PROPHESY AGAINST THE LAND OF ISRAEL! BEHOLD, I AM AGAINST THEE! I WILL DRAW FORTH MY SWORD OUT OF HIS SHEATH, AND WILL CUT OFF FROM THEE THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED! MY SWORD SHALL GO FORTH OUT OF HIS SHEATH AGAINST ALL FLESH FROM THE SOUTH TO THE NORTH! THAT ALL FLESH MY KNOW THAT I THE LORD HAVE DRAWN FORTH MY SWORD OUT OF HIS SHEATH! IT SHALL NOT RETURN ANY MORE! SIGH THEREFORE, THOU SON OF MAN, WITH THE BREAKING OF THY LOINS! WITH BITTERNESS SIGH BEFORE THEIR EYES! FOR THE TIDINGS; BECAUSE IT COMETH: AND EVERY HEART SHALL MELT, AND ALL HANDS SHALL BE FEEBLE, AND EVERY SPIRIT SHALL FAINT! ALL KNEES SHALL BE WEAK AS WATER! BEHOLD, IT OCMETH, AND SHALL BE BROUGHT TO PASS! A SWORD, A SWORD IS SHARPENED, AND ALSO FURBISHED! IT IS SHARPENED TO MAKE A SORE SLAUGHTER! IT IS FURBISHED THAT IT MAY GLITTER! SHOULD WE THEN MAKE MIRTH? IT CONTEMNETH THE ROD OF MY SON, AS EVERY TREE! THIS SWORD IS SHARPENED, AND IT IS FURBISHED, TO GIVE IT INTO THE HAND OF THE SLAYER! CRY AND HOWL! IT SHALL BE UPON MY PEOPLE, IT SHALL E UPON ALL THE PRINCES OF ISRAEL! TERRORS BY REASON OF THE SWORD SHALL E UPON MY PEOPLE! BECAUSE IT IS A TRIAL, AND WHAT IF THE SWORD CONTEMN EVEN THE ROD? PROPHESY AND SMITE THINE HANDS TOGETHER, AND LET THE SWORD BE DOUBLED A THIRD TIME, THE SWORD OF THE SLAIN! IT IS THE SWORD OF THE GREAT MEN THAT ARE SLAIN, WHICH ENTERETH INTO THEIR PRIVY CHAMBERS! I HAVE SET THE POINT OF THE SWORD AGAINST ALL THEIR GATES, THAT THER HEART MAY FAINT, AND THEIR RUINS BE MULTIPLIED! AH! IT IS MADE BRIGHT, IT IS WRAPPED UP FOR THE SLAUGHTER! I WILL ALSO SMITE MINE HANDS TOGETHER, ANDA I WILL CAUSE MY FURY TO REST! I THE LORD HAVE SAID IT!
THE SONG OF MOSES! DEUTERONOMY 32! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find it building upon what was previously written in the twentieth chapter. Moreover, what you find within these chapters can be seen and viewed as a continuation of that which is found in the eighteenth chapter of this prophetic book. If you read the words which are found in the twenty-first chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel you will find the word of the LORD coming unto Ezekiel and proclaiming something truly astonishing and remarkable when you actually take the time to consider it. Upon reading the words found in the twenty-first chapter you will find the word of the LORD speaking unto Ezekiel concerning a sword that was not only raised, but also pointed directly at Judah and Jerusalem. In fact, in the opening verses of the twenty-first chapter we find the word of the LORD speaking and revealing unto Ezekiel that he was to prophesy and proclaim a word toward the holy places, toward the land of Israel, and toward Jerusalem. The word which Ezekiel was to prophesy at this particular time was one which I am sure was not easy for Ezekiel to prophesy and proclaim, for it was a message of judgment and wrath. As you read the words within this chapter you will encounter the tremendous reality of the LORD raising up and setting a sword against the city of Jerusalem—a sword that would utterly devastate and destroy in the midst of it. The language that is found in this passage of scripture is actually quite remarkable when you think about it, for what we find in this passage of Scripture is a powerful declaration of the sword of the LORD which would be raised up against the city of Jerusalem. LIVING AT THE EDGE OF THE SWORD! Stop for a moment and think about the implications that are found within this passage and what it would mean for the inhabitants which were living and dwelling in Jerusalem. Stop and consider what living in the midst of the city of Jerusalem would be like knowing that beyond the wall and beyond the gates a sword was being brandished that it might be raised up and sent against it. Think about the awesome reality that there would be a great and devastating work that would be done in the midst of and against the city of Jerusalem with this sword that would be raised against it. The crux and underlying message that is found within the twenty-first chapter of this prophetic book is that the inhabitants of Jerusalem were living inside and within the walls and gates of the city with a sword being outside the walls and being raised up and prepared to come against the city and utterly consume it. The prophetic word which is found in this chapter is essentially a word of judgment, wrath, devastation and destruction that would come upon the city of Jerusalem.
As I sit here this morning thinking about and consider the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, I can’t help but be reminded of the call which was placed upon the life of Ezekiel from the very outset of the ministry he was called unto and entrusted with. If you read the words which are found in the third chapter, as well as the words which are found in the thirty-third chapter of this book you will find the word of the LORD speaking unto Ezekiel and declaring unto him that he was a watchman unto the house of Israel. What’s important to note concerning the prophet Ezekiel is that his being called, his being ordained, and his being appointed as a watchman was entirely and altogether different from what you find in the physical, natural and traditional sense. Ezekiel wasn’t a watchman upon the wall of the city of Jerusalem, and he wasn’t a watchman who would be in the towers upon the walls with a shofar at his side looking out over the horizon surveying the landscape to see if danger was approaching the city. When the LORD spoke unto Ezekiel and revealed unto him that he was called and ordained as a watchman unto the nation of Israel, he would prophesy and warn of impending judgment and destruction that would come upon the city, however, it would not be with a shofar that he would sound the alarm. Perhaps one of the most astounding and remarkable realities surrounding the prophetic call and ministry of Ezekiel is the fact that he was called to not only hear the sound of alarm, but also see trouble on the horizon, and speak concerning that which he saw and that which he heard. You cannot read this prophetic book without encountering and coming face to face with the tremendous responsibility Ezekiel had as a watchman unto the house of Israel to warn them of the impending judgment and wrath that would come upon them. In all reality, it is this call of the watchman which was upon Ezekiel’s life that makes the words found in the twenty-first chapter so incredibly captivating. You cannot truly understand Ezekiel’s need to prophesy and proclaim a word concerning a sword that was being pointed at and pointed against Jerusalem without coming face to face with the awesome reality that Ezekiel was indeed called to be a watchman upon the proverbial wall of Jerusalem warning the inhabitants therein of impending judgment and wrath. With that being said, and before we delve into the words found in the twenty-first chapter, I would like to invite you to consider the words found in both the third and thirty-third chapters of this prophetic book. Consider if you will the words which are found in the third chapter of this book beginning to read with and from the fifteenth verse:
“Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-Abib, that dwell by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days. And it came to pass at the end of the 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 died; 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 stumbling block 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 Arn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast d delivered thy soul” (Ezekiel 3:15-21).
“Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: IF when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul” (Ezekiel 33:1-9).
The words which are found in this particular passage of Scripture are specially interesting when you take the time to consider them in light of what is found in the twenty-first chapter, for in the twenty-first chapter of this prophetic book you will find the word of the LORD speaking unto Ezekiel and revealing a sword that was being brandished and furnished against Jerusalem and against the inhabitants in the midst thereof. It is absolutely and incredibly clear that Ezekiel was indeed called to be a watchman unto the house of Israel, and that he was to warn them according to the word(s) which proceeded from the mouth of the LORD. Ezekiel was to refrain and hold back absolutely nothing from the house of Israel, and he was to speak and declare unto them exactly what the LORD had declared and instructed him to speak. The words found in the thirty-third chapter of this prophetic book are actually quite captivating when you consider the fact that the word of the LORD speaks unto Ezekiel concerning the natural and physical sense of a sword that was brought against the land, and the people appointing a watchman whom they would set upon their walls to sound the alarm and sound the trumpet of impending danger that would come upon the city and land. What’s more, is the more I think about and the more I consider the narrative of the watchman and the narrative of the sword, I can’t help but think a bout the narrative of the trumpet. In fact, I would dare say that these three narratives are intrinsically linked and connected to each other, and must be recognized and understood in light of the other. There is not a doubt in my mind that we cannot and must not attempt to separate the call and cry of the watchman from the sound and noise the trumpets make in the midst of the land. What’s more, is that I am absolutely and completely convinced that we cannot separate the sound of the trumpet and the cry of the watchman from the prophetic word given unto Ezekiel concerning the sword, and even concerning the impending danger of a sword which would be brought up against the land. It would be unto Ezekiel the LORD would speak of a sword which He would bring against the land, and how critical and how important the call and cry of a watchman truly is when they see the sword coming. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the words which are found in the tenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers which describes the trumpets the children of Israel were to have among them in their midst:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of camps. And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee. When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys. But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm. And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations. And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall e saved from your e enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before you god: I am the LORD your God” (Numbers 10:1-10).
I sit here today thinking about the word which is found in the twenty-first chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, and I can’t help but be absolutely gripped with the fact that this particular word wasn’t merely an allegory, nor was it something with which Ezekiel was to demonstrate unto the house of Israel. The word which you find in the twenty-first chapter was indeed very real, for the LORD was emphatically declaring unto the house of Israel that there was indeed a sword that had been raised against it, and a sword that would come upon it. Ezekiel would see according to the word of the Lord a sword that would be raised, set against and pointed at Jerusalem. I find myself being absolutely captivated by this imagery of a sword that was pointed against Jerusalem, and essentially the inhabitants in the midst of the city living at the edge of the sword. I have seen enough movies and television shows to see men in battle with a fighter or warrior standing over them as they are on their knees with the blade of a sword to their neck, and this is imagery I see when I think about the city of Jerusalem and a sword being brandished against them. Through the prophet Ezekiel the word of the LORD revealed unto the house of Israel that a sword had been raised, and a sword had been brandished against the city of Jerusalem, against its walls, against its gates, against its towers, and against the inhabitants which were found therein. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome reality, for it reminds me of another time when a sword was raised against the city of Jerusalem. It’s worth noting that there was another time when the LORD would raise up and send a sword against the city of Jerusalem—namely, because of the iniquity, the transgression and sin of David king of Israel. In fact, if you turn and direct your attention to the twenty-first chapter of the Old Testament book of First Chronicles you will find the narrative concerning the iniquity of David before the LORD. As you read the words which are found within this chapter you will find another time during the days of a united kingdom of Israel a sword being raised against it—not because of the sin of the people, but because of the sin of David alone. Consider if you will the following words which are found within this passage of Scripture beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse of the chapter:
“And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. ANd David. Said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beer-sheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it. ANd Joab answered, The LORD make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why then doth my lord the king require this thing? Why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel? Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem. And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword. But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them: for the king’s word was abominable to Joab. ANd God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel. And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly. And the LORD spake unto Gad, David’s seer, saying, Go and tell David, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things: choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. So Gad came to David and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee either three years’ famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee; or else three days the sword of the LORD, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the coats of Israel. Now therefore advise thyself what word I shall bring again to Him that sent me. And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are His mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man. So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as He was destroying, the LORD beheld, and HE repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay n to thine hand. ANd the angel of the LORD stood by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. ANd David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. And D avid said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? Even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? Let thine hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be on me, and on my father’s house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued. Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LROD in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. ANd David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the LORD. And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat. And as David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshing floor, and bowed himself to David with his face to the ground. THen David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshing flood, that I may build an altar therein unto the LORD; thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague. May be stayed from the people. And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all. And king David said to Ornan, nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof. At that time when David saw that the LORD had answered him in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there. For the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of the burnt offering, were at that season in the high place at Gibeon. But David could not go before it to inquire of God: for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the LORD” (1 Chronicles 21:1-30).
WHEN THE SWORD RETURNS! THE SWORD COMES BACK A SECOND TIME! As you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome reality that during the days David reigned as king over the nation and kingdom of Israel the sword of the LORD would be brought against and brought upon the city of Jerusalem. The sword which Ezekiel saw being pointed at, and coming against Jerusalem, and upon the land of Israel was not the first time the sword would come to Jerusalem, as it would be because of David’s transgression before the LORD the sword would first be brought against the city. Scripture reveals how seventy thousand souls died and perished as a direct result of the sword which the LORD brought against Jerusalem, and more might have died if the LORD did not look upon what was taking place and repent Him of the evil He had brought against the city of Jerusalem. The sword of the LORD would first come against the city of Jerusalem during the days of David king of Israel, and it would come against the city because of David’s iniquity in numbering the nation of Israel—even against the word and instruction of Joab the commander of his army. David would proceed to number the people and nation of Israel, and that which he would do would be displeasing in the sight of the LORD. As a direct result of David’s disobedience in the sight of the LORD the LORD would send the seer Gad unto him giving him three choices—either three years of famine, three months being defeated before his foes, or three days of the sword of the LORD. David chose to commit himself into the hands of the LORD knowing He was merciful and gracious, and chose three days of the sword of the LORD. It would be as a direct result of this David would not only witness the sword of the LORD being raised against the city of Jerusalem, but also seventy-thousand souls perishing because of the pestilence that would strike and consume the city. Moreover, David would actually see the angel of the LORD which brandished and held the sword of the LORD in his hand standing between heaven and earth over the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite which would be in the land of Moriah.
It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider this reality of the sword of the LORD being brought against the city of Jerusalem during the days of David, and how the angel of the LORD stood between heaven and earth at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, for we know that this threshing floor was in what was considered to be the land of Moriah, and would even be the mountain where Abraham would be tested of the LORD by sacrificing his one and only son Isaac. It’s quite interesting that the sword of the LORD would first come upon Jerusalem during the days of David, and would ultimately find a resting place between heaven and earth in the very place Abraham would have sacrificed his one and only son Isaac, and where the Temple would later be built by Solomon. We cannot afford to miss this, for when we come to the twenty-first chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel—it’s almost as if we find the sword returning unto the city of Jerusalem. What’s more, is that not only would the sword return unto the city of Jerusalem, but it would ultimately and inevitably strike in the very same spot the LORD would repent Himself of the evil He had brought against and upon the city of Jerusalem during the days of David king of Israel. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this powerful truth, for during the days of David king of Israel we find the sword of the LORD being unleashed within the land of Israel, and within the city of Jerusalem, and we find seventy-thousand souls perishing as a direct result of that sword. This is something we must truly understand and acknowledge when seeking to understand and unpack the reality of the sword of the LORD, for when Ezekiel saw the sword of the LORD which would come upon the city of Jerusalem, it wouldn’t be the first time the sword of the LORD would be brought against the city. In fact, even during the days of Hezekiah king of Israel, one might argue that a sword had been brought against the city of Jerusalem. You cannot read the narrative of Hezekiah king of Judah and not encounter the awesome reality that a sword would indeed come against the city of Jerusalem, and would threaten its walls, its gates, its towers, and the inhabitants which were present in the midst of it. What’s more, is that if you read and study the narrative of Hezekiah’s life you will find that it was during the days of his reign the sword of Assyria would come against the city of Jerusalem and would threaten to destroy it and bring it under the rule of Assyria. Not only this, but this narrative is found in three different places within Scripture, as it is found in the book of Second Kings, the book of Second Chronicles, as well as the prophetic book of Isaiah.
I am convinced that in order for us to understand the narrative of the sword of the LORD which would be spoken of in the twenty-first chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel it is absolutely necessary that we we recognize the account of David king of Israel, as well as the narrative of Hezekiah king of Israel, for in both of their reigns we find a sword coming against the city of Jerusalem. In the case of David king of Israel the sword which came against the city of Jerusalem would be because of the iniquity and transgression of David, while in the case of Hezekiah king of Israel it would simply be Sennacherib king of Assyria who would conquer the northern kingdom of Israel, destroy the city of Samaria, and carry away the people of that land captive into the nations of the Assyrian Empire. With this in mind, I invite you to consider the words which are found in Scripture concerning this invasion of Judah by Sennacherib king of Assyria, and the threat and sword he would bring against the city of Jerusalem during the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. The sword of the LORD would first be brought against the city of Jerusalem during the days of David king of Israel, and there would be a foreign army that would attempt to lay siege to the city of Jerusalem during the days of Hezekiah. Babylon would not be the first kingdom and empire to lay siege to the city of Jerusalem, and yet it’s interesting that their siege and invasion of Jerusalem would be directly linked and connected to the days of Hezekiah. It would be during the days of Hezekiah king of Judah the sword of Assyria would come against the city of Jerusalem, and it would also be during the days of Hezekiah the word of the LORD would come unto Isaiah the son of Amoz declaring that the days would come when Babylon would return unto the city of Jerusalem and would carry away the treasures which Hezekiah would show them when envoys came unto the city. This is actually quite intriguing when you think about it, for not only would Hezekiah be linked to the sword of Assyria which would come against the land, but Hezekiah would also be linked to the sword of Babylon which would come against the city of Jerusalem during the days ahead. With this in mind, consider if you will the narrative that is found in Scripture—not only concerning the sword of Assyria coming unto Jerusalem and Hezekiah’s resisting the sword through prayer, intercession, humility, trust and confidence in the LORD, as well as the sword of the LORD striking the army of Assyria in a single night, and ultimately a prophetic word concerning Babylon:
“Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, andA took them. And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field. Then came forth unto him Eliakim, Hilkiah’s son, which was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joash, Asaph’s son, the recorder. And Rabshakeh said unto them, Say ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What incidence is this wherein thou trustest? I say, sayest thou, (but they are but vain words) I have counsel and strength for war: now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me? Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; where on if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him. But if thou say to me, We trust in the LROD our God: is it not he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, e shall worship before this altar? Now therefore give pledges, I pray thee, to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give thee two thousand horses, if thou e able on thy part to set riders upon them. How then will thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? And am I now come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it? The LORD said unto me, Go up against this land, and destroy it” (Isaiah 36:1-10).
“Then said Eliakim and Shebna and Joah unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, unto thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and speak not to us in the Jews’ language, in the ears of the people that are on the wall. But Rabshakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? Hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you? Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and said, Hear ye the words of the great king, the king of Assyria. Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you. Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us: this city shall not be delivered you. Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us: this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with my by a present, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern; until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, The LORD will deliver us. hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? And have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who are they among all the gods of these lands, that have delivered their land out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand? But they held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king’s commandment was, saying, Answer him not. Then Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, that was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh” (Isaiah 36:11-22).
“And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD. And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth, unto Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. And they said unto him, THus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift p thy prayer for the remnant that is left. So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say unto your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land” (Isaiah 37:1-7).
“So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. And he heard say concerning Tirhakah the king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with thee. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, THus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saying, JErusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered? HAve the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivan?” (Isaiah 37:8-13).
“And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, Thou and rot the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God. Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries, and have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only. Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria: This is the word which the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of JErusalem hath shaken her head at thee. Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? And against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? Even against the Holy One of Israel. By thy servants hast thou reproached the LORD, and hast said, By the multitude of my chariots am I come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon; and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the height of his border, and the forest of his Carmel…But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me. Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest…Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake” (Isaiah 37:14-35).
“Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and four score and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esar-Haddon his son reigned in his stead” (Isaiah 37:36-38).
“At that time Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered. And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not. Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? And from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon. Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my reassures that I have not shewed them. Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall e left, saith the LORD. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take way; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the LROD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days” (Isaiah 39:1-8).
These words must be carefully understood and considered, for these words not only show us the sword of Assyria coming against and coming unto Jerusalem, but it also shows us Hezekiah’s resistance of that sword through prayer, intercession, and trust and confidence before the LORD. It is absolutely necessary that we pay close attention to this, for Babylon would not be the first kingdom and empire to bring its army to the wall and gates of Jerusalem. There would be other kingdoms and empires that would bring their armies against the city of Jerusalem—namely, Babylon and ROme, to name a few. Assyria would be the first kingdom and empire that would bring the sword against the city of Jerusalem, however, we know from Scripture that the Assyrians would not only flee from the city of Jerusalem, and not only that one hundred and eighty five thousand among their army would be slaughtered in a single night, but we also know that the LORD would declare that no arrow would be shot within the city, no siege would be laid against the city, and no shield would be brought against it. Sennacherib king of Assyria would be the first king who would bring the army of his empire against Jerusalem, and yet that sword would not be permitted to strike within, against and upon the city of Jerusalem. The LORD would watch over and preserve Jerusalem during the days of Hezekiah king of Judah and would respond to his prayers and his intercession which he would pray before and unto the LORD. This is something worth noting and pointing out, for what we find in the narrative of Hezekiah was that although he would resist the sword of Assyria which would be brought against Jerusalem, he would be directly linked and connected to the sword of Babylon which would come against the city of Jerusalem. The prophet Isaiah would see a day when Babylon would come against the city of Jerusalem, and would carry away all the treasures which he and his fathers had stored up, and would take away his sons into a land not their own where they would be eunuchs in the palace of the king.
Now, you might be wondering why the narrative of David and Hezekiah are so important when reading and considering the words which are found in the twenty-first chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, and the truth of the matter is that Ezekiel would see a sword that would come against the city of Jerusalem—a sword which would and could not be turned back. The prophet Ezekiel saw the sword of the LORD being brandished and furnished against the city of Jerusalem, and saw that sword being pointed directly at the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants. The more I read the words which are found in the twenty-first chapter of this prophetic book of Ezekiel the more I can’t help but be absolutely astounded with the fact that the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants would spend their days living at the edge of the sword, as the sword would be pointed at them before it would ultimately come against them to strike a death blow upon them and in their midst. The prophet of Ezekiel didn’t merely see a sword that would come against the city of Jerusalem, but he would see the sword of the LORD which would be manifested through the Babylonians, as the Babylonians would be the sword in the hand of the LORD, which He would bring against the city of Jerusalem. Stop for a moment and consider what it would have been like for Ezekiel to see sword which was raised against and pointed at the city of Jerusalem, and speaking of that sword and against the city of the great King. Pause for a moment and consider the awesome and incredible burden and responsibility Ezekiel would have with prophesying concerning the sword of the LORD which would come against the city of Jerusalem knowing that there was nothing that could avert its course against the city. Ezekiel would indeed be a watchman unto the house of Israel, and Ezekiel would indeed see a sword which would come against the city, and he knew there was absolutely nothing that would or could prevent that sword from coming against the city. What’s more, is that it is quite interesting to consider the fact that the sword which Ezekiel would see coming against the city of Jerusalem would indeed be a homecoming if you will, as the sword would once more be brought against the city of Jerusalem. The sword of the LORD would first come against the city as a result of the sins of its king, while during these days the sword of the LORD would come against the city of Jerusalem because of the sins of kings, princes, rulers, priests, prophets, and the people alike.
WHEN THE SWORD IS BROUGHT BACK TO THE PLACE OF BEGINNING! WHEN THE SWORD RETURNS ONCE MORE! THE SWORD HAS RETURNED! In the days of David it would the angel of the LORD which would unleash the sword of the LORD upon the city of Jerusalem together with its inhabitants, and as a direct result of this, seventy thousand souls would perish. During the days of Zedekiah king of Judah the sword would return, and would come against and in the very same place it would come during the days of David king of Israel. The sword which Ezekiel saw coming against the land of Judah and against the city of Judah would not be stopped, and there would be absolutely no way for the sword to be averted and redirected. It is absolutely necessary that we understand and recognize this awesome and incredible reality, for during these days of judgment and wrath the sword would not only return to the city, but the sword would even consume the very place the sword of the LORD once rested over. Not only would the sword of the LORD be brought against the city of Jerusalem once more, but that sword would be brought unto the very place of sacrifice and offering—that same place where the sword would be seen by David at the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. WHEN THE SWORD RETURNS! THE SWORD WILL RETURN! The prophet Ezekiel would be called by the LORD to stand in the place of warning and proclaiming the word of the LORD concerning the sword which would be brandished against the city of Jerusalem, as that sword would be unleashed and would come against the inhabitants of the city, the wall of the city, the gates of the city, and even against the Temple of the LORD. One might ultimately say the sword that would come during the days of judgment and wrath would expose that which was at the beginning, and would level that which was raised up in that place that the sins of the people of Israel might be revealed and manifested in the midst of Israel. The sword would not only return unto the place where the sword of the LORD would manifest itself during the days of David, but the sword would also reveal and expose the foundations upon which the city was built—namely, that place where Abraham would be tested of the LORD concerning Isaac, and where David would build an altar before the LORD, and where Solomon would build the Temple of the LORD.
If there is one thing I can’t help but think about and consider when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture, it’s that the sword which would manifest itself in the midst of Jerusalem would be a direct fulfillment of that which Moses the servant of the LORD would prophesy and speak of unto that generation which would enter into the land of Canaan. If you journey back to the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that Moses the servant of the LORD foresaw days when the people of Israel would turn their backs on the one true and living God, and when they would completely and utterly abandon their worship of Him. Moses would see a day when the children of Israel would go after, worship and serve foreign and strange gods, and days when the children of Israel would abandon their worship of the one true and living God. He would see days and times when the people of God would no longer walk in the ways which were prescribed within HIs law, and would follow the imagination of their own hearts. Moses would warn the people of Israel concerning the days to come when they would no longer worship and serve the living God, but would go after deaf and dumb idols, and would worship strange and foreign gods. Moses the servant of the LORD would prophesy and speak of days to come when the people of God would no longer hear and listen to the words which are found in the book of the Law, and would completely and utterly despise and reject it. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand the words which Moses spoke unto the children of Israel, for if you want to understand the sword which would come upon the land you must consider the warnings which Moses spoke of before the children of Israel actually prepared to enter into the land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua the son of Nun. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy—first in the twenty-eighth chapter, and then again in the thirty-second chapter:
“But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not Hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until He have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it. The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish. And thy heaven that is over thy head shall e brass, and the earth that is under thee shall e iron. The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. And thy carcase shall be meat unto all the fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away. The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: and thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in they ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled ever more, and no man shall save thee. Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof. Thine ox shall e slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall e given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them. Thy sons and thy daughters shall e given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall e no might in thine hand. The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway: so that thou shalt be made for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head. The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee. Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit. Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. All thy trees and f rust of thy land shall the locust consume. The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall e the head, and thou shalt be the tail. Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep His commandments, and his statutes which He commanded thee: and they shall e upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever. Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyful ness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou Erie thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: and he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall e siege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall siege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and int he straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee: so that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall e evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave: so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicate ness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward s the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, and toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates. If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. Moreover he will ring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed. And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God. And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. And the LORD shall scatter thee among all the people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: in the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! And at even thou halt say, Would God it were morning! For the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes, which thou shalt see. And the LORD shall ring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, THou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall e sold unto your enemies for bondsmen and bondwoman, and no man shall buy you” (Deuteronomy 28:15-68).
It is necessary that we pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage, for although it is long, and although there is a lot of language contained therein, it helps us understand and come to terms with the reality that the living and eternal God warned the children of Israel centuries and generations before the prophets what would happen if they forsook His law, if they abandoned his statutes, if they neglected His word, and if they went a whoring after other gods. The LORD warned the people of Israel what would and what could happen in the days before them if they turned their backs on them, and we see—even as early as that first generation after the death of Joshua and the elders which outlived him the children of Israel turning their backs on the LORD, upon His statutes, and upon His commands. We find as early as that first generation the children of Israel worshipping and serving foreign and strange gods which the LORD their God instructed and commanded them not to. What’s more, is that during the days of the Judges the children of Israel would commit themselves to going a whoring after other gods, and the LORD would deliver them into the hands of their enemies. The LORD of hosts would remove their strength from before the enemies round about them, and would allow their enemies to March straight up into the midst of the land and oppress them. In the land of Egypt the children of Israel were oppressed by taskmasters who cruelly mistreated and abused them, and now here they were in the land which was sworn unto them by the LORD, and they were being oppressed by the nations and peoples round about them. As a direct result of their disobedience, transgression, and rebellion before and against the living and eternal God, the LORD would deliver them into the hands of their enemies who would plunder and spoil them. What’s more, is not only would they spoil and plunder them, but they would also oppress them in their own land. OPPRESSED WITHIN THE INHERITANCE! CARRIED OUT OF THE INHERITANCE!
As I sit here today I can’t hep but encounter and come face to face with the awesome and tremendous reality of the prophetic word which Ezekiel saw concerning the sword which would be raised up against the land of Judah and against the city of Jerusalem. The prophet Ezekiel would indeed and would in fact see a sword that would come against the city of Jerusalem, and it would be a sword that would not be able to be averted away from Jerusalem and away from the land of Judah. The word of the LORD would come before and unto the prophet Ezekiel, and the word of the LORD would emphatically declare unto them that He would not only cut off the righteous from the land, but also the wicked. The LORD would declare unto the prophet Ezekiel that He would make His sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north, and would do so that all nations might know that it was he who drew forth the sword and brought it against His people and against His land. The LORD declared unto Ezekiel that every heart would melt, all the hands would be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water because of what would come to pass in the midst of the land. The LORD declared unto the prophet Ezekiel that the sword would be against all the princes of Israel, and how terrors by reason of the sword would be upon His people. Not only this, but the sword would be against the great men which were slain, which entered into their privy or private chambers. What’s more, is that you will notice in this passage of Scripture the LORD declaring how He had set the point of HIs sword against all their gates, that their heart might faint, and that their ruins be multiplied. Please don’t miss and lose sight of what is being spoken within this passage, for what we find in this passage is a truly remarkable and astonishing reality concerning the sword of the LORD which would be brought against the wall of the city, against the gates of the city, against the towers, and against all the fortified places in the midst of the land. The LORD would indeed and would in fact bring his sword against the land of Judah and against the city of Jerusalem that he might bring an end to the rebellious city which transgressed against His command and went a whoring after other gods.
Ezekiel would be called as a watchman to warn of that which the LORD would speak unto him, and within this passage we find Ezekiel warning the inhabitants of Jerusalem that the point and the edge of the sword would be pointed at Jerusalem and would be at its gates. What a powerful image and sight this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for with these words the LORD would declare through His servant Ezekiel that the sword was not only brought against the land of Judah, and it would not only be brought against the city of Jerusalem, but it would even pointed at the gates of the city. The LORD would indicate that the gates of the city—those instruments which were meant to keep enemies and adversaries out—would actually be struck by the sword, and would be overtaken and consumed by the sword. The gates of the city which were means of keeping people from entering in, and the wall of the city which was meant to secure that which was inside would experience the sword of the LORD coming against it. The words which are found in the twenty-first chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel is absolutely remarkable and astounding, for what you find within it is a powerful declaration from the LORD that He would bring His sword against the people of the land, as well as the city where He had placed His holy name. The sword which the LORD spoke to Ezekiel about was a symbol of His wrath, His judgment, and the devastation and destruction destruction he would bring against the city where He had placed His great name, and where His Temple and sanctuary would stand. This city which would be the place of His glory and government would be given over into the hands of enemies and adversaries, and it would be this city that would be permitted to be consumed by those who hated, abhorred and despised the people of God. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize understand this, for it serves as a tremendous word of warning and word of caution before and unto a nation such as ours which has continually and repeatedly disregarded the commands and statutes of the living God, and has turned its back on Him by worshipping and serving its strange and foreign gods.
The words which the LORD spoke unto Ezekiel are a powerful word of caution to that nation which would turn their backs on the one true and living God, and which would allow themselves to go a whoring after other gods which are no gods at all. The sword of the LORD would be brandished and would be brought against Jerusalem because of the tremendous wickedness, iniquity, immorality and idolatry that would be committed in the midst of the city. The sword of the LORD would be brought against that people which would despise and reject all that was holy and all that was righteous, and it would bring sheer and utter calamity in the midst of the city. The word of the LORD which was spoken and revealed unto the prophet Ezekiel stands as a powerful warning against that judgment and wrath the LORD would bring against and upon this nation and this people who would despise and turn their backs upon the one true and living God to go after their own lusts, their own imaginations, their own desires, their own passions, and their own rebellion and wickedness. The word of the LORD would speak directly unto the prophet Ezekiel and would reveal unto him the powerful truth that a sword was pointed at the gates of the city, and that the city itself was not safe, nor were the inhabitants found within it. Oh that would truly recognize and understand this awesome and powerful reality, for I can’t help but get the strong sense that the sword is pointed at the gates of this nation, and that there is a sword outside the wall which the LORD of hosts Himself has raised up and brought against it. I can’t hep but get the strong sense that we are living in dangerous and tragic times, and that the walls and gates of the nation are both susceptible and vulnerable to the onslaught and attack of the enemy and adversary. The word of the LORD clearly speaks of a sword that was being pointed against the city of Jerusalem and would come against all its fortified places, and all its places of strength, and we as the nation of America must allow ourselves to be warned during these days that there is a sword which is pointed against us—a sword of pestilence, a sword of famine, a sword of warfare and battle. The question is what will we do with the knowledge and understanding that a sword is indeed raised up against this nation, and will we be that one whom Ezekiel spoke of who ought to stand in the gap and build up the hedge that the LORD might not destroy the people and nation alike. Oh that there would be Intercessory who would be raised up during these days who would indeed weep between the porch and the altar, and who would indeed cry out to the LORD that He might spare His people and that men might repent before Him and turn their hearts once more unto Him.