SHADOW OF MAKING A CHAIN
God then commands Ezekiel to make a chain. The captives to whom Ezekiel ministered were familiar with chains, for they had worn them as they were led captive from their homeland. They had no love for chains, and were repulsed by them... Before God has Ezekiel make this chain, he is given a message to preach to them about why they had been given chains...
In this discourse, God reminds them that "the end has come" (vs 3)... and that the God Who had given mercy so often before, was now about to give judgment. Man too easily begins to depend on the mercy of God. But if we continue in sin, we will soon face a God Who will call mercy to an end.
People like to hear that "Now is the day of salvation..." but resist and reject the message of a prophet... that "Now is the day of judgment...."
In Ezekiel 7:7, 10, we see "the morning (Hebrew = sepira) is come..." This word "morning" means here - "doom"... The morning of doom has arrived for these sinful rebels of Israel... Likewise, with the church of the last days, those hypocrites and false prophets that have long trusted in the mercy of God will soon face the morning of doom, that God has over and over warned the church...
In Ezekiel 7:9, God calls Himself a new name... "Jehovah-makkeh".
"I am the Lord Who smiteth (Jehovah-makkeh)..."
We all like names like "Jehovah-jireh" (the Lord Who provides), or "Jehovah-rohi" (the Lord our Shepherd)... but here is one name we do not want to admit... The God Whom we serve, is a Shepherd, a Provider, etc. but if people resist, rebel, and apostatize... He will become to them... JEHOVAH-MAKKEH.
God announces that He will bring three methods of judgment:
God also reminds them of Aaron's rod that budded, and then shows them, that their "rod hath blossomed" with "pride", "violence", and "wickedness" (7:10-13).
Therefore, with this sin of the fruit that had been expected by God, God warns that they should "let not the buyer rejoice" and "nor the seller mourn" for "The seller will not return to that which is sold..." This is a reference to the fact that they would not see the restitution of the year of jubilee... In the last days, those of the church who are involved in rebellion against God's ways, will not see the day of restitution, victory, revival, and rapture!
Many people of our day attempt to resist such an end... They have "blown the trumpet" and "made all ready"... but their hopes are worthless. God warned those of Ezekiel's time, and prophetically warned like-minded people of our day (vss. 14-22), that their "hands will be feeble" and "knees shall be weak as water". Those who trust the prosperity heresy will find that their "silver and gold" to be powerless.
These sins of those today, and the sins of the hypocrites and false prophets of today... have "polluted My (God's) secret (treasured) place. God is so angered at such sins, that He commands Ezekiel to make a chain for the captives. "Destruction comes" to such sinners. They may "seek peace" but will not find it... Their religious leaders, who claim to know what God is doing and saying, will have nothing to say. God promises to judge such hypocritical leaders...
SHADOW OF MOVING AND DIGGING THROUGH THE WALL
In the sight of everyone, Ezekiel was to pack his bags, and then dig a hole in the wall... He was to sneak out in the twilight... He was to cover his face as he did so...
This was to be a sign to the hearers... for Israel and Jerusalem are "doomed"... in the same way that in our age, the religious hypocrites of our day are soon to be doomed.
The people of Ezekiel's day, had heard these prophetic warnings before... and they had heard the false promises of victory from the false prophets... They had thought it was impossible for God to cast away His people... and the promises of blessing would cover them despite their sins...
The action of Ezekiel in this pantomime, of gathering up possessions, digging a hole in the sun dried brick wall of his house, and covering his eyes as he carried his bundles on his shoulders would illustrate to the watchers that God was going to have King Zedekiah escape through a hole in the wall of Jerusalem... The prophecy was literally fulfilled...
Ezekiel struggled against giving such a message to the people, for he knew they were a "rebellious house..." (12:2-3). These people had "eyes to see, but see not... ears to hear, but hear not..." And yet, our God is desirous to warn even the spiritually deaf and dumb... for it "may be that they will consider..."
We may know in these last days, that those to whom we minister, will not listen... but that is no excuse for not speaking to them.
:...yet they believed not on Him: that the saying of Esaias (Isaiah), the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?... He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them..."
SHADOW OF EATING AND DRINKING WHILE SHAKING AND TREMBLING
Then, God tells Ezekiel to eat a meal, and to shake and to tremble all through the meal. This pantomime lesson, with a sermon to go with it, was designed to draw a crowd... One person saw Ezekiel, and called for others to come and view this "crazy" prophet... Ezekiel continued to tremble and to shake, knowing that what was drawing the crowd was his seemingly senseless actions... Yet, he allowed the crowd to gather.
As Ezekiel showed great fear and dread by his trembling and shaking, the crowd wondered why Ezekiel was so fearful... When the questions began, the Lord gave Ezekiel an answer. Ezekiel prophesied that frightening violence will come... The sufferings that were to come are attributed by God to be due to the sufferings they have inflicted on others. God announces that oppression will soon get its due reward.
God promises to scatter Israel "toward every wind..." God is proving to them that God is still "the Lord"... What men fail to learn in prosperity, God will show to them in adversity, calamity, and tribulation. In God's mercy, God says that He will allow a "few escape..." Some will confess their sins, as they are brought to judgment.
SHADOW OF FIRE IN THE FOREST
Now Ezekiel is told to look toward the forest that was south of Jerusalem... Though this forest is over 700 miles away, Ezekiel faced the proper direction. Then, Ezekiel is given a sermon to that forest. A crowd gathered again to see what this strange prophet was doing... They kept directing the sermons and pantomime messages of Ezekiel, so God says to preach to the forest.
This area south of Jerusalem is now a waterless desert, except where agricultural settlements have irrigated it into a state of cultivation. Ezekiel faced south and prophesied to the forest that then was just south of Jerusalem. He said that God would set a fire and burn every green tree there. People were to realize that the Lord had sent that as a judgment.
Ezekiel 20:49 shows that Ezekiel was called a "speaker of parables..." The word "speaker" means literally a "riddler"... He was actually called a "riddler of riddles." God had spoken in these so called "riddles" not to confuse the people... for God does not want to confuse us... but God had Ezekiel use these "riddles" or pantomimes only to get the people to listen... Many today think God has tried to confuse us, spoken to us in visions, dreams, and revelations meant to be unclear... This is false... and God has always wanted to reveal, uncover, and expose the truth. It is mankind's rejection of revelation that is the problem!
SHADOW OF A DRAWN SWORD
Weapons are scary, and imagine if your preacher carried in a shotgun to the sermon... Ezekiel brought a sharp, polished, and ready to use sword to his sermon.
Just as the sermon of the fire to judge the forest south of Jerusalem, this sermon is to show what God will do to the people of Jerusalem. As the fire burnt the trees, the sword would slay the "righteous" and the "wicked..." "All flesh" would soon recognize that the judgment had been brought by the Lord.
In history, Joshua had faced the "Captain of the Lord of hosts" when he approached Jericho (Joshua 5:13). At that time, the Lord Jesus came in a pre-incarnate form to show that He was ready to fight for His people. The Lord was about to make the land available for them to inhabit. Here, to Ezekiel, the sword is used to show that God would now send them from the same land He had given to them... The sword was to be used on them now, not their enemies.
SHADOW OF SIGHING
Ezekiel is told by God to now sigh with bitterness while people watched. The sigh was to be a convulsive sighing. When the people asked why he was sighing with such bitterness, he was to tell them:
"for tidings, because it cometh, and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water, behold, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord God."
God assures the people, that what He had Ezekiel speak concerning the "fire" and the "sword" would happen, and men would be devastated by it.