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thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round
See chap. i. 1-17; chap. xiv. 12-23; chap. xxiv. 13, 14. From the Book of Jeremiah, and from some of the other sacred writings of this period, we learn that the most enlightened among the Jews were monotheists; but it would be extremely difficult to prove, from the Book of Ezekiel, that Jehovah was regarded as the only true God, by any of his worshippers.
Very unsuitable representations of Jehovah are given in the xvith chapter. Ezekiel, in the first chapter, relates a wonderful vision, in which God appears in a human form, sitting " as the appearance of a man" on a throne of sapphire.
“ From the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about.”
Chap. i. 27, 28. Is it not possible that in this representation Ezekiel may have mingled the Chaldaic notion attributed to Zoroaster, that God is the purest fire, with the earlier and more human conceptions of Jehovah ?
Character of God. Jehovah is described as loving justice and mercy, and having no pleasure in the death of him that dieth ; but his attribute of mercy is exerted toward his own people exclusively.
“ As I live saith Jehovah God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel ?"-Chap. xxxiii. 11.
“Yet ye say, The way of Jehovah is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel : Is not my way equal ? are not your ways unequal ?"-Chap. xviii. 25. Jehovah is jealous of the worship paid to heathen Gods; in his anger, he is furious.
“So will I make my fury toward thee to rest, and my jealousy shall depart from thee, and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry.”—Chap. xvi. 42. Jehovah declares that it is not because he loves his rebellious people, that it is not for their sakes, that he rescues them from captivity ; but because he will be jealous for his holy name, because he will set his glory among the heathen, that they may know that he is Jehovah, and that his great name, which the Jews had profaned, may be sanctified before
“ But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith Jehovah God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am Jehovah, saith Jehovah God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.”—Chap. xxxvi. 21-23.
“ And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.
“Therefore thus saith Jehovah God; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name."
Chap. xxxix. 21 and 25.
Government and Providence of God. The whole Book of Ezekiel is an illustration of the Judaic belief that Jehovah is the King and Governor of his people Israel. He rewards and punishes them; blesses them with prosperity, and afflicts them with adversity. Ezekiel teaches, (in direct opposition to the Mosaic doctrine that God will visit the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation,) that the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father : that moral conduct will ensure to the individual length of days; that the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him, and that the soul that sinneth he shall die. The xviiith chapter is the most beautiful and the
most useful in the Book, but it has reference, exclusively, to God's conduct towards his own people.
“ Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine : the soul that sinneth, it shall die. But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, and hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel ;
“ Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith Jehovah God.
" Yet say ye, Why! doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”—Chap. xviii. 4-6, 9, 19, 20, Amendment is not the result of man's own exertion and determination to do rightly; but it is the operation of God's Spirit within him, constraining him. This doctrine is also taught by. St. Paul in the New Testament.
“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within your and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
Chap. xxxvi. 25-27. Ezekiel agrees with the other Prophets in predicting the total annihilation of those nations, who rejoiced in the calamities of the Israelites and Jews. Jehovah will destroy them, for it is against Jehovah that they “ have boasted and multiplied their words."
“ For thus saith Jehovah GOD; Because thou hast clapped thine hands, and stamped with the feet, and rejoiced in heart with all thy despite against the land of Israel ; behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and will deliver thee for a' spoil to the heathen ; and I will cut thee off from the people, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries : I will destroy thee; and thou shalt know that I am Jehovah.” Chap. xxv. 6, 7.
« Because thou hast said, l'hese two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas Jehovah was there: Therefore, as I live, saith Jehovah God, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I have judged thee. And thou shalt know that I am Jehovah, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume. Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them."-Chap. xxxv. 10-15.
“ Therefore thus saith Jehovah God; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey. Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith Jehovah God;
Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen: Therefore thus saith Jehovah God; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame."
Chap. xxxvi. 5-7. Jehovah promises to gather his people from among the heathen; to bring them out of captivity, and to establish them in their own land upon the mountains of Israel, they and their children for ever. Judah and Israel shall no more be two nations, nor be divided into two kingdoms, for one king shall reign over them.
“ Thus saith Jehovah God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land : and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions : but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd; they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob
my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall
for ever."-Chap. xxxvii. 21-25. Jehovah enters into covenant with his people. If they will worship and serve him, he engages to be their God.
“And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am Jehovah." - Chap. xvi. 62."
“ Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them ; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them : yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Chap. xxxvii. 26, 27. When the Prophets inquire of Jehovah he gives them a divine answer. They see visions and dream dreams, and the Spirit of Jehovah falls upon them. The divine influence is recognised by the suddenness and vividness with which inspired thoughts present themselves to the mind. The Prophets, believing themselves to be the subjects of divine revelations, constantly preface their predictions and their addresses to the people with the words : “ Thus saith Jehovah," and yet more frequently with : “ The word of Jehovah came unto me, saying."
“ Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Also thou son of man, thus saith Jehovah God.”—Chap. vii. 1, 2.
“ And the Spirit of Jehovah fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak ; thus saith Jehovah; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them."-Chap. xi. 5.
Thus saith Jehovah God; Woe unto the foolish prophets,
Chap. xii. 3.
“ And if the prophet' be deceived when he hath spoken a
Chap. xiv. 9, 10.