Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 2 months ago

Recognizing False Prophets

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ezekiel 12:21-13:23

You may be seated and let's turn ourattention to God's word in the book of Ezekiel and will begin in ChapterTwelve, so Zekiel Chapter Twelve verse, TwentyOne and then I will read also chapterthirteen here. In this passage, the Lord speaksto us about false profits, bout and and points the way forward toJesus is a true Prophet Speaker of truth, Bringer of wisdom and salvation. So let's give our attention to God'sword now and he's equil chapter twelve beginning verse. Twenty one and the word of the Lord came to me, son of man. What is this proverb thatyou have heard about the land of Israel saying the days grow? Long and everyvision comes to nothing. Tell them therefore, thus says the LordGod. I will put an end to this proverb and they shall now no more use it as aproverb in Israel but say to them. The days are near andthe fulfilment of every vision for there shall be no more any falsevision or flattering divination within the House of Israel. For I am the Lord.I will speak the word that I will speak and it will be performed. I will nolonger be delayed, but in your days o rebellious house, I will speak the wordand perform. It declares the Lord God and the word of the Lord came to me,son of man. Behold they of the House of Israel Say the vision that he sees isfor many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off therefore say to them. Thus, as theLord God, none of my words will be delayed any longer, but the word that Ispeak will be performed. Declares the Lord God. The word of the Lord came to me, son of man, prophesy against the falseprophets of Israel, who are prophesying and say to those who prophesy fromtheir own hearts, hear the word of the Lord thus says the Lord God: Woe to thefoolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing. Yourprofits have been like jackals among ruins, O Israel, you have not gone. Youhave not gone up into the breeches or built up a wall for the House of Israelthat it might stand in battle. In the day of the Lord, they have seen falsevisions and lying divinations. They say declares the Lord when the Lord has notsent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. Have you not seen afalse vision and uttered a lying divination? Whenever you have saiddeclares the Lord, although I have not spoken, therefore, thus says the Lord God,because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions. Therefore, behold Iam against you declares the Lord God my hand will be against the prophets, whosee false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in thecounsel of my people nor be enrolled in the register of the House of Israel,nor shall they enter the land of Israel, and you shall know that I am the LordGod precisely because they have misled. My people saying peace when there is nopeace and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets smear itwith whitewash, say to those who smear it with whitewash that it shall fall.There will be a deluge of rain and you O great hailstones will fall and astormy wind break out and when the wall...

...falls, will it not be said to you?Where is the coating with which you smeared? It therefore thus says theLord God. I will make a stormy wind to break out in my wrath and there shallbe a deluge of rain in my anger and great hailstones and wrath to make afull end, and I will break down the wall that you have smeared withwhitewash and bring it down to the ground so that its foundations, or sothat its foundation will be laid bare when it falls. You shall perish in themidst of it, and you shall know that I am the Lord. Thus. Will I spend my wrath upon thewall and upon those who have smeared it with whitewash, and I will say to you:The Wall is no more nor those who smeared it the prophets of Israel whoprophesied concerning Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there wasno peace. Declares the Lord God and you son of Man, set your faceagainst the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own hearts,Prophesi against them and say thus, as the Lord God, woe to the women who somagic bands upon all wrists and make veils for the heads and persons ofevery stature in the hunt for small souls. Will you hunt down soulsbelonging to my people and keep your own souls alive? You have profaned meamong my people, for handfuls of barley for pieces of bread putting to deathsouls who should not die in keeping alive souls who should not live by yourlying to my people who listens to lies therefore, thus says the Lord Godbehold. I am against your magic bands with which you hunt the souls likebirds, and I will tear them from your arms and I will let the souls whom youhunt go free. The souls like birds, your veils, also, I will tear off anddeliver my people out of your hand, and they shall no more be in your hand aspray, and you shall know that I am the Lord because you have disheartened therighteous falsely, although I have not grieved him and you have encouraged thewicked that he should not turn from his evil way to save his life. Therefore,you shall no more cease false, false visions nor practise divination. I willdeliver my people out of your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord. May God bless his true word to us. Well, the problem that is egil isfacing and that the Lord declares to this son of man is two fold, but thefrog focuses on the second part. You can get the sense of it in verse.Nineteen for he says by your lying to my peoplewho listen to lies, so there is a people. The body is real,who listens to lies? There are foolish people and, as we've seen in many ways,an unrighteous people and ungodly people, people who, because of theirown righteousness, are going to be sent out of the land, the Holy Land, but this passage focuses notparticularly on those who listen to lies, but on those who make the lies onprofits and prophetesses men and women, who say thus says the Lord, when theLord has not thus said, is Ekil, in other words, speaks thesepowerful messages these. He tells us these visions, he he does these signsin a midst of many other prophets. At the same time, there are some othertrue profits of the Lord, but as we learn here from Zekiel Thirteen andtwelve, there are also many false profits like today. Is he like? There are?There are people in Ezekiel's time, including himself, who speak truly theword of God and many others who speak...

...falsely. This generates all kinds of questionsfor us when we think about the truth and and potential falseness of a wordthat is said to come from the Lord questions like. How do you know what'strue, or will there be justice for the liars orwhat, if I do, the wrong thing? What if I had the wrong way by listening to thewrong person? It also reminds us that there are many people among us who areconstantly speaking on behalf of God, just as happened in the time of Israelwho don't speak on behalf of God. There are those who will talk from morning to night about thingsabout the morality of God, about the divinity of God about his plans for theworld about what is what isn't all these voices? Many of them don't know what they'retalking about. Many of them are confused and some lie as well, and the people of Israel were facingsimilar problems. You can imagine the frustration of his Ekil being called todeclare these things in the midst of all these other prophets who aredeclaring other things. Zekiel says thus says the Lord, as he digs throughthe wall and meanwhile there's somebody there on the street. Saying thus saysthe Lord Everything's fine. You can imagine how frustrating thatwas be. Perhaps you felt that very same frustration and having conversationswith friends or family or neighbors saying here's, what the Bible says:Here's what the Lord says and to have voices come in all around you saying.Oh, don't worry about that! There's lots of different interpretations. Iread this great book. I picked up at the airport, it's awesome and on and on well. The good news for us is that Godspeaks into that kind of situation both for us and during Ezekiel's time. Now, of course, God speaks in his ekalstime at a per very particular moment in history, where he's bringing theCovenant Curses upon his people for their breaking of it, as we spoke aboutlast time, but I'd like to focus on the things that Zekiel brings our attentionto on. First, the confusion and just thinking a little more carefully aboutthat, and then these two classes of people, the Prophets, the falseprophets and the false prophetesses, and, as we think about these things, what we want to do is contrast themwith our Lord, who is a true prophet, the True Prophet, who speaks the wordof the Lord. Who is the word of the Lord, and we can learn more about himby seeing what he is not so. We see the terrible situation inwhich the people found themselves can be reminded of the very excellentsituation in which we find ourselves as having the word of God to us in Christ. So, let's focus on the confusion. First,that is equal and the people of Israel were facing in versus twenty onethrough the end of chapter twelve accidentally so to speak. Zekiel does a similar thing that Pauldid this morning right where he takes these proverbs and then critiques them.This was not planned, but an interesting and and happy providence ofthe Lord for us to remember this and think about this. The first one comesin verse, Twenty Two Zekel, the Lord saysto his Ekil son of man. What is this proverb that you have about the land ofIsrael saying the day grows long and every vision comes to nothing. There's a hopelessness in this proverbright, a sort of meaninglessness, a...

...sense of like I've, heard it a milliontimes right. Everybody saying this thing, and that thing and this visionand that vision. But what does it come to this is the time this is how bad thingsgot in Israel that the people in the land of Israel had a proverb for howbad the profits were. That's how bad things were that they're,like Oh yeah right, we all know right the days grow. Long and every visioncomes to nothing. What's God's answer to this proverb, the answer is in verse. Twenty three hesays tell them therefore thus says the Lord God. I will put an end to thisproverb and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel. Okay, that's a big statement right to go froma place where this whole time and all these events can be characterized by aproverb that we all just know to a point where God says nobody's going tosay that any more what's going to be the difference, hetells us he tells us in the next verse he says but say to them. The days arenear and the fulfilment of every vision for there shall no more be any falsevision or flattering divination within the House of Israel. For I am the Lord.I will speak the word that I will speak and it will be performed. That's agreat verse by the way to remember I am the Lord. I will speak the word that Iwill speak and it will be performed. This is our God now. Why were these things going to becoming to an end? Why were all these false visions and lying prophets orlying prophecies going to be coming to an end, because, as he tells us he's going tobring an end to those who speak them, this whole exercise and culture andpractice of false prophecy was going to end because God was going to put themto death. God is not messing around. God is notwinking at these false things he is done. The measure of wrath has beenbuilt up. It is about to be poured out a rebellious house. He says it iscoming. This tells us both of the power of Godand the wisdom of God. It reminds us that he does not wink at lyingfalsehoods, especially those which are said to be in his name. The second proverb comes to us in verse.Twenty seven, the word of the Lord came to me that ishis Egil and then that's twenty six and then twenty seven. We have the word sonof man. Behold they of the House of Israel Say the vision that he sees isfor many days from now any prophesies of times. Far Off. If the first oneexpressed a kind of hopelessness, well, you can't know anything. Everythingcomes to nothing. The second one has a sense of belief in it right. You canalmost hear them hearing the words of his egil, but instead of a disbeliefabout what he says, it's it's sort of distraction and pushing it off to afuture date. They don't hear the words as he saysthis is coming. It's happening right now in your time and respond. Instead,their response to his word is maybe later well lest hopefully laterat least I won't have to feel the pain. Maybe it'll be my kids. If that's sorry,kiss is not very nice thought of parents to think, but sometimes wethink this right. We push things off, we think. Well, maybe I won't have todeal with that. A coming generation and times far off sure the Lord will comesure. Judgment will come, but I don't really have to worry about that. Will I...

...well here in his Ekel, God tells hispeople. Time is up and he says in verse. Twenty eight, theresponse to this pushing off proverb. This saying that they would say therefore say to them thus says theLord God. None of my words will be delayed any longer, but the word that Ispeak will be performed. Declares the Lord now notice. The Lord still doesn't tellthem the exact minute that things are going to happen, even though they aregoing to be performed and performed soon. They are still required to trusthim at his word and that's always the case. Isn't it? God doesn't tell usevery detail every aspect of his plans. He tells us what he tells us and heexpects us to listen to believe and to trust to not say well, there's a bunch ofother voices out there. I don't who can really know or to say. Well, I supposethat's true, but that's for another day. No, we are to remember that the wordthat he speaks is the word that will be done. So it's in the midst of this confusion,then, in the midst of these proverbs andthese things happening that God now speaks about and to these two, theseprophets male and female. He speaks to these prophets and heexplains to them what is coming to them in judgment, andhe helps us and his people then, to understand a little bit more aboutthe nature of false prophecy. What exactly it looks like what itfeels like how we ought to understand it, and this is important for us that wemight not play Nice with false prophecy that wemight sort of shrug our shoulders and think. Well, you know it's not a bigdeal. It is a big deal, especially when thefalse prophets have a place among the people of God. So, first as Zekiel deals with theprophets, the male profits, he says to his Zekel son of man as his chapter,thirteen verse two now prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who areprophesying and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts, hearthe word of Yawa. That's where Lord is in those little capital letters therethat I mean they are speaking of God,they're speaking, the god of Abraham Isaac. Jacob they are saying here iswhat God has said, but remember the difference herebetween what Zekel experience and what these people are experiencing. WhenEzekiel spoke, the word of the Lord he was caught up into the heavens. Hestood before the Lord himself, who commanded him and said, speak thesewords. What does the Lord say about the Prophets, these false prophets? Theyare those who speak from their own hearts, their own imaginations, they simply saythus, as the Lord, when God has not said verse, seven, have you not seen afalse vision and uttered a lying divination whenever you have said Dicsaid declares the Lord, although I have not spoken. This reminds us of the thirdcommandment shall not take the Lord's name in vain. This doesn't simply mean,or only mean are our sort of casual use of the name of God, but it alsoincludes these various great, these very grievous sins in which the God issaid to have said something when he has not in my home. If, if I want something tobe done- and I want one child to community to the other child- I willsay- as I suspect many parents here also doe say- Tell Your sister that Dadsaid right and that gives a little...

...extra hum a little extra louth to whatone sister says. The other one brother says whatever right, because DAD saidit they're communicating this message thus say if dad right now, if the onechild, here's that message and does not listen right, big trouble, they've notlistened to what dad is said, even though it has come not directly throughdad but through his Messenger. But it's also true that if one of my kids goesto my other kids and says thus says Dad when Dad Hath Not said, also bigtrouble and that's what these profits were doing, they were going to thepeople of Israel with the Lord Seal, with the Lord's stamp, with the thatthe the the authority of God and declaring things that he had not said what a terrible thing I was going onthere. He calls them foolish profits. A little play on words were he callsthem Nibbly, novelets a fun little thing with the words these foolishprofits, they're just making stuff up verses.They have seen the false vision, visions and lying divinations, and thenZeke will describes them. These are images which I want you to hold in yourmind, the first image that he gives us ofthese lying profits is that of jackers notice. How he he talks about this. Hesays they are like those who who stavens right, t y they come, and theythis is verse for your profits have been like jackals among the ruins ofIsrael. What do jackals do, or maybe foxes,they're scavengers right there, they're like roaming around in the ruins sortof picking up eating, taking whatever they can get, is that what profits are supposed to beour profits supposed to be those who are eating and devouring the last fewresources among the ruins of God's people? Are they supposed to bedeclaring the word of the Lord to build up the people to strengthen the people,to enlighten the people to warn the people these jackals, which is what falseprofits are they're about themselves? They come with all this authority andpower. They come with, maybe fancy clothes. They come with all this andall that and but they're just in it forthemselves. We see that with the prophetess ist aswell. It says that they do these magic things for a bit of bread and a handfulof barley, they're. Just after money, resources, they're not serving God's people,they're, not serving God, they are serving themselves. They are not to betrusted and not to be depended upon in verse.Five. He describes them as deserters in a military military imagery. You have not gone up into the breechesor built a wall for the House of Israel that it might stand in battle on theday of the Lord. As I understand it, when one battle when on army wouldattack a city like Jerusalem or some other place, they would build theseworks up against the wall and you'd get to the high point of the wall tobecause it was less strong there right as it goes up less strong there, and soyou the goal would be to kind of tear it down from the top and theneventually, you know, breeds the wall and get into the city. Well, thedefensive measure for this was to build works on the other side of the wall andattack. Right, so is the enemy is trying to come in through the holes andmake more holes through that wall. Your...

...job, if you are A in charge of protecting the people, isto go stand in the breach to go, stand in the gap to fight those who aretrying to come in and be that wall to be strong to be courageous to, and inthis case, what the prophets is to speak the truth, they have not done that the people the Prophets of God are arelike are like mighty warriors. Are they ought to be empowering andstrengthening the people with the word of God, and instead of that they're outone or in the city collecting people's money they're, leaving the people defenceless,their cowards, the pretenders, and that pretending language comes upin this image, this last image of the false prophet, so we have jackals andwe have deserters, and then we have these pretenders or white washers. The Wall needs to be built, this imageof protection around the city. When the people build the wall, we read in VerseHeaven the Prophets Spirit with whitewash. This would be the equivalentof sort of realizing that you had termites and mould right in your wallsreally bad and they say, let's paint it. I will just will paint it all up rightand when the wood is rotten, there's bugs everywhere and the things about tofall apart- and you say: Oh let's, just let's just cover it up and we'll sayit's good that we're doing good. That's what these prophets doing. They hadgone to the place of protection, the the wall and they were saying you'resafe. We are safe. Nothing can happen to us, and these ekule hinted at someof the things. They've said in other places like we've got the temple right.Remember the temple that's filled with their idols. We've got the temple. Whatcould happen to us? We've got the Lord right there calling on Yawa what couldhappen to us and on and on and on God's justice. Whatever it'll come downthe road. This is all whitewashing, it's whitewashing the wall. What doesGod say will happen? I'm going to destroy the wall, hail, stones and water. It's going tocrush the very profits who have whitewashed it and then you'll know thetruth about the wall and you'll know the truth about the prophets, and notonly will you know the truth, but I will take care of the lies and therewill be no more false visions. An amazing moment of God's justice willcome upon Israel, in which the truth is made known. Justice is served. It is a similarthing with the female profits, the prophet tests or, however, we mightcall them. We read that they also were pretending,we're imagining things we're speaking from their own heart and they weredoing it in a slightly different way. A zekel points out using some sort ofmagical practice here in the ES V. it's translated like arm bands or veils onthese words, are really difficult to translate and it's difficult to knowexactly. What's going on here, we can't say with certainty exactly what thepractices were, but we can say with certainty what God says here and that's that theywere using these things to, as one commentator puts, it upset the moraland spiritual order, so they were cursing and causing souls to die that we're not doing anything wrong.

They were living righteously and thenthey were taking those who were unrighteous and not putting them todeath for causing them to live. Somehow this magic was being practiced. It reminds us of the truth that sometimes in some places people seem to be able to access anduse spiritual powers. Remember that the profits of or Pharaoh's magicians, it'stranslated. Various ways were able to do some of the miracles of Moses. Thefirst three, I think, if I remember right, they were able to turn the Nileinto blood right. These were not a trick. They did these things and thenit said the scriptur say that God took it away from them. He took away theirability to do these things in such a way that those magicians said thiscomes from the hand of the Lord Right. We're done, there's nothing else thatwe can do they end up, giving a confession to God. Now how all this works exactly, I can'tsay, but what we do see here is that powers magical spiritual powers arebeing used by these people, but no longer God will will remove these magic bands. He says it in thisway in verse, twenty I will tear them from your arms, and I will let thesouls you hunt go free now why this inequity? Why were somepeople getting this treatment and others not well? It seems much like the false profit on Balem who is hiredto curse God's people on these, these magicians, these false profits, thethey were using this Magi for money. They had a power. I had access to thepower and they were using it to make a profit for bread barley. Well, not only is that a despicable andterrible thing, not just the money aspect of it, butthe abuse of the power that they had. We also see explicitly we are givenanother image and how we are to understand them. These women, these daughters of yourpeople, verse seventeen they are like hunters laying snares for the souls ofcut people are the Prophets of the Lord supposedto be hunting. The souls of the people. No, the Prophets of the Lord, are recalledto protect, to build up, to strengthen, to bring light, to bring life, not molegoing around setting snares and traps for the people like like birds, verse, Twenty One God will have no moreof it, your veils. I will tear off and deliver my people out of your hand, andthey shall no more be in your hand as pray, and you shall know that I am theLord. You have encouraged the wicked that heshould not turn away from his evil way to save its life. Therefore, you shallno more see false visions or practice divination. I will deliver my peopleout of your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord this phrase that keeps coming up bothin the last passage that we read in this one as well. You shall know that Iam the Lord reminds us of for the goal of all of these things. One way that we express it in ourconfessions is to say that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy himforever. Another way that, to put it is to knowthe Lord,...

...when we know the Lord, that's when weknow him as we are called to, we glorify him now those who come under his wrath andjudgment do bend. Leni Jesus says this of himself. Every need will bow andconfess his Lordship, his kingship every tongue will speak of this truth. Will we enjoy it? Or will we not that's a little bit of a differentmatter that joy that comes to us is a joy of protection, a joy of being keptthe joy of knowing that the evil in our hearts be lying in our hearts, the ourproclivity to being deceived that these things have been forgiven by the Lord and that we know him not just as judgebut his deliverer as redeemer is the one who has taken us out of the snareout of the tomb through the truth of the word of God in the beginning was the word, and theword was with God, and the word was God, that's how John Begins His Gospel andspeaking about our Lord Jesus? He was a light that shone shined in the darknessand the darkness. Darkness did not overcome it. He was light to the world, he was aliketo men. He did everything that these false prophets did not do. He was theopposite of them and in seeing that contrast and seeing the the despicablehorrible things which these supposed servants of the Lord are doing in someways they magnify by the wisdom of God, the glory and the greatness of his son. When Jesus came into the world, did he speak from his own heart, his ownimaginations, lying divinations and false visions, or did he, as he saidseveral times, I only say what has been given to me. I only speak what thefather has said only do what he has said. I only stantdo what he was calling me to do. This work of the Messiah. This work of thisProphet Greater Than Moses is true work because he, when he declares thus saiththe Lord. We know it's true. Not only this. Not only did he speakfrom the very word of God, but he didn't do it for his own self and grand ismen, his own self feeding or his own self interest. Why did Jesus come into the world? Whydid Jesus speak this? This word to us? Why did Jesus die for us? He didn'te to feed himself. He did it to feed us to be that bread of heaven to be theman of that comes from above. He came not at the end when the ruins were allthere and judgment had been had. I was just going to go brown and pick up thepieces and see what he could grab. He did it to save us from judgment to saveus from ruin. Jesus wasn't a jackal. He wasn't adeserter either when the going got tough when things got hard, when Jesuswas out in the desert, with the devil for forty days being tempted by thedevil himself to Jesus say that's enough, the salvation thing for my people. Itwas a good idea when it started, but I got a you know. I got to protect my owninterest. No, of course not. He stood up against the lives of theevil one. He spoke the truth of the word of God. When those in power said we're going tokill you we're going to come after you...

...we're going to come after your people.Did he blink an eye? Did he say? Did he stand down when they threatened to crucify him?Did he back off? Did he take the easy way out? The scriptures say that he went like alamb to the slaughter and he did knowingly he did itwillingly. He did it on purpose. Jesus say: Jesus gave up his own life for usto stand in that gap to stand against the devil and his evil ones. To standagainst the wrath of God that was coming against us with all of the legaldemands, the God righteously was going to fulfil and did fulfill Jesus stood in the gap and took on thatwrath of God to protect us. He is our rock. He is our wall, he keeps US safe and he calls it like it is. Jesus doesn't whitewash the situation.Jesus says things like. I am the way, the truth in the life and no one comesto the father, except through me, a man and I'm an verily verily. I say under you, theKingdom of God is like he says these things with boldness when people around him are going, Idon't know, and that doesn't sound very good. How can you say that sort ofthing? How can you eat with tax collectors and prostitutes? How can youcall people like this into your kingdom? Jesus doesn't blink and I Jesus is nota people pleaser he's not out to gain the the tension of the world in the kind of way that people often do. No Jesus calls sin for what it is calls glory for what it is. He callsgrace for what it is and in all these things he brings us into a situation. That isthe exact opposite of what these prophets brought the people of Israelinto. He brings us not into a city ofdesolation with the wall broken down and the judgment of God rolling in onhis people. He brings us into a new city, the newJerusalem. It's called with a temple built with living stones,of which the Scripture says. We are of the place that is eternal and securea place where he does not roam around as a Jacko, but he he fills with hislight so that there isn't any in any need of a son. He is our life. He is our treasure, heis our joy, not our destroyer. Jesus doesn't break down the order ofall things. He builds it up and instead of taking advantage ofthose who are weak and who are poor, he strengthens them. He protects them, and so, when we think about ourselves a different situation than Israel inmany ways but similar also in many ways, we must look to the true word of God to Jesus Christ. He is who he says he is. He has brought all the prophecies andall the truths that come to us through God's word, to pass Jesus and the things that he says werenot some empty promises, and we know that for all kinds of reasons, one ofthe greatest is that he rose again on...

...the third day exactly like he said hewould. He was put to death on a cross. He diedfor our sins exactly like he said he would, and then he rose again from thedead and ascended into heaven. So when he says he's coming again, you canguarantee it and you can look forward to that day because when he comes injudgment on the world, you can know that judgment for you has alreadypassed that your sins have already been forgiven, that you belong to himthrough his cross, and you look and look forward to thatday when the Lord, who is righteous, will set everything right. But if you do not know the Lord, if youare one who gives yourself over to line tongues and deceitful things whounderstands the word of the Lord and Bends it and twists it and listens tofalse profits, or if you are one who says those thingswho declares false things who says things that, God has not said. Beware do not push off these things and saywell, some other day, some other time. The time to repent is now the kingdom is at hand. So, let's pray our heavenly father. We asked that youwould protect US indeed,.

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