Life-Study of Ezekielby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we will consider the judgment of God’s people.
First, we need to see the basis of God’s judgment upon His people. God’s judgment upon His people was based on three things: the righteousness of God, the holiness of God, and the glory of God. In the first section of Ezekiel (ch. 1), in the vision of the appearance of the glory of the Lord, we saw three main things: the throne, which looked like a sapphire, signifying God’s righteousness; the fire, signifying God’s holiness; and the glowing electrum, signifying God’s glory. As we have pointed out, these three things give us three basic colors. The throne in the appearance of sapphire was blue; the fire was red; and the glowing electrum was yellow. When these three basic colors shine, reflect, and refract together, they give the appearance of the rainbow. The crucial matter here is that God’s righteousness, holiness, and glory are the basis upon which God exercises His judgment over His people.
In chapters two through twenty-four there are some negative things which are versus the righteousness, holiness, and glory of God. God’s glory is versus idols, and in 8:2-4, 10 and in 9:3 God’s glory is contrasted with idols. In a vision Ezekiel was brought to Jerusalem and entered the temple. Before Him the glory of God and the idols were contrasted. On the walls were the images of the idols, and over the temple was the glory of the Lord. The glory of the Lord could not tolerate the images of the idols. Those images were called provoking images because they provoked God’s jealousy (8:3). Our God is a jealous God; He will not tolerate idols. Because of the idols in the temple, the glory of God withdrew step by step, leaving the temple, the city, and the people. In the last step the glory of the Lord left the temple and the city, stopping on the Mount of Olives on the east side of the city (11:23), the same place where the Lord Jesus ascended to the heavens. The glory of the Lord stopped there and waited for a while, but eventually it left that mountain and went back to the heavens. That was the departure of the glory of the Lord.
God’s judgment upon His people is based first upon His glory. Anything that is versus God’s glory will surely provoke His judgment. Today’s Christianity is under God’s judgment. The situation of today’s Christianity is provoking God’s jealousy because of the many idols. The Roman Catholic Church has all kinds of idols, and other so-called churches also have idols. In some of these places there may not be physical idols, but there are other kinds of idols. With some their work for God is an idol. With others Bible teaching or evangelism becomes an idol. If we love our work, activity, or practice more than the Lord, even such things, which are for the Lord, may be idols. Based upon this principle, we can realize that the situation of Christianity is filled with idols. This is why I say that the situation of today’s Christianity is provoking to God and under His judgment.
God’s holiness is God’s separation and sanctification, and this is versus dross. As God’s elect, God’s chosen people, the church should be pure gold, pure silver, and a pure treasure. However, like the people of Israel at Ezekiel’s time, the church has become dross. Therefore, like Israel the church needs to be burned by fire. The Lord said that He would put the city of Jerusalem and the people of Israel into a furnace to burn them (22:17-22). This indicates that God’s holiness is versus dross. God’s holiness cannot tolerate any kind of dross.
Consider the situation of today’s Christianity. Where can you find a pure treasure to God? Nearly everywhere you look there is only dross. Surely there is the need of God’s burning fire to burn out the dross.
The love expressed by many Christians today is not pure but is dross because it is according to the flesh. These ones may love others, but their love is according to the natural human emotion and contains a great deal of mixture or impurity. This kind of love is a love that has not passed through the cross. The same is true of the kindness and humility expressed by many Christians. In this kind of love, kindness, and humility there is no pure gold. Instead of something pure and holy, there is mixture, dross. Those who express such love, kindness, and humility are in the flesh, doing good things or expressing something in a good way. Although the expression may be good, it is still the flesh. There is no dealing of the cross and no dealing of God’s holiness. Therefore, this kind of love, kindness, and humility needs to be burned and judged; it needs to be put under God’s judgment by fire. From this we see that not only does our hatred need to be burned, but even our love needs to be burned. Likewise, both our pride and our humility need to be burned by God.
God’s righteousness was versus Israel’s injustice and oppression. During Ezekiel’s time the people used oppression and exercised robbery (22:29). On the basis of His righteous throne, God had to exercise His judgment upon all unrighteous and unjust things.
Now we can see that God’s judgment of His people was based on His glory, holiness, and righteousness. Anything that did not match His glory, holiness, and righteousness had to be judged.
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