November 19 – Ezekiel’s Temple, Solomon on Bureaucrats, and Justification by Works?

November 19
Ezekiel 39:1-40:27
James 2:18-3:18
Psalm 118:1-18
Proverbs 28:2

Ezekiel 39:1 – Notice the repeat from the previous chapter (similar to Genesis 1 & Genesis 2). From Enduring Word:

In Hebrew literature it was common to give an account and then to repeat it to give emphasis and a few additional details. Ezekiel 39:1-8is a summary of what was described in Ezekiel 38.

Ezekiel 39:2 – Notice the size of the destruction – 83% of the army is wiped out! It will take seven years to burn the captured weapons! (Ezekiel 39:9). Why would they burn the weapons? 

Usually weapons left by a defeated enemy would be added to the victor’s cache of arms. After all, there would be other battles to fight. The war against Gog was to be no ordinary war. It will be the final battle, whose conclusion will make armaments obsolete.”

Vawter & Hoppe

Ezekiel 39:22 – Again one of the 80 times we read that God acts so that people can know He is the LORD their God! Give God your attention and your obedience before He has to compel it!

Ezekiel 40 – Here’s a 3D Model of the Temple (this really helps reading the chapter)

And a 2D Sketch of what it could look like

Here’s a link to another sketch of Ezekiel’s Temple – because of copyright I can’t embed the picture but you can click thru and see it.

James 2:21 – Martin Luther famously referred to James as “a right strawy epistle,” for you like him may have run into people that claim James teaches “justification by works.” Let’s see what James means by “works.” James did not say Abraham was justified by the amount he gave to Melchizidek in tithes, or in his lifetime good deeds, but James points to one solitary action. Let’s look at how this incident is recorded across Scripture:

  • Genesis 22:1-2 “God did tempt Abraham…offer him there for a burnt offering”
  • Hebrews 11:17 “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac:”
  • James 2:21 “Abraham…justified by works, when he had offered Isaac”

God tried Abraham, Abraham had faith in God, and proved his faith by obedience.

If you want to say (in spite of cross referencing) that James is saying you can be justified by doing generic good works – let’s look at the key text that says you can work your way to heaven, Leviticus 18:5. “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.” Moses repeats it in Deuteronomy 4:1. The prophets come back to this theme (Nehemiah 9:29, Isaiah 55:3, Ezekiel 18:9, Ezekiel 20:11, Ezekiel 20:13). Jesus reiterated there is life for those who keep the commandments (Luke 10:28). Paul echoes it as well (Romans 10:5, Galatians 3:12).

If you want to be saved by the law, and claim James as your proof text, then you better backup to James 2:10  that we read yesterday (just 11 verses up!) and remind yourself that you better keep all 613 laws perfectly for your entire life! (See Romans 3:23 before attempting).

James 3:8 – James compares the tongue to a bridle for a horse (James 3:3), a rudder for a ship (James 3:4), and a fire (James 3:5-6). It can bless God and curse men (James 3:9). As James says, if you claim to be a Christian, you should act like a Christian (James 3:10).

Psalm 118:6 – As Carl Kerby says, Be Bold! Trust God, do His will, and He will protect you!

Proverbs 28:2 – Bureaucrats are part of the judgment of the land. There are over 2 million employees of the U.S. government, not counting the postal service or the military. If you are a government employee – Solomon is not saying your work is bad, but he’s saying many federal jobs would probably be unnecessary if this was a nation of righteous people (there are 105,000 full time federal law enforcement officers alone). 

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