November 16 – Can the Wicked Live and the Righteous Die?

Ezekiel 33:1-34:31
Hebrews 13:1-25
Psalm 115:1-18
Proverbs 27:21-22

Ezekiel 33:7 — This echoes Ezekiel 3:17. The challenge of this passage using the watchmen as an example is actually an expansion from the five verses of Ezekiel 3:17-21 to the nine verses in Ezekiel 33:1-9. The question is, though, does this warning apply to us today?

The Temple laws of Moses were specific to a certain people and a certain building. The warning of Ezekiel to Tyre and Egypt were specific to a certain people at a certain time, but this passage is different. Ezekiel is given by God a universal principal and not a ceremonial command. Ezekiel was specifically appointed a watchman to Israel, but the context implies that there are others who could be called watchmen as well. In contrast to those that say the church is not responsible for the Great Commission, we have the same message that Ezekiel had, but to a different people and a different time.

  • The wicked shall die (Ezekiel 33:8)
  • The “righteous” will die as well (Ezekiel 33:12-13)
  • Turning (Repentance) saves from death (Ezekiel 33:11)
  • Our sins can be blotted out (Ezekiel 11:16)

Ezekiel 33:17 — Jeffrey Dahmer was one of the worst serial killers. Sodomized, murdered, dismembered, and cannibalized 17 men and boys over 13 years. Found legally sane.

On July 22nd, 1991, he was caught. He said “For what I did I should be dead.” Over the next two weeks, he confessed to everything. Shortly after he asked for a Bible. He sought legal help from a prominent Christian lawyer in the area. According to his father, books from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) led him from evolution to the Creator and then to becoming a born again Christian. Yes, it is possible for the wicked to live, and the righteous to die (Ezekiel 33:18-19)!

Ezekiel 33:24 — Israel was trusting in their strength, yet God was judging them for their sin!

Ezekiel 33:25 — In both the Old (Genesis 9:4) and New Testaments (Acts 15:29) God has condemned the eating of blood. The sins that Israel committed (Ezekiel 33:26-27) were universal – condemned in both Testaments.

Ezekiel 33:32 — Be a doer and not just a hearer (James 1:22)!

Ezekiel 34:17 — The Lord GOD (Yahweh Adonai) declares that He, the Shepherd of the flock, will judge between the rams and the goats. What did Jesus say in Matthew 25:32? He said that He would “… separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats …” Jesus claimed to be the Yahweh Adonai of Ezekiel 34:17. Now why wasn’t He stoned for this? Because it was told to the disciples privately (Matthew 24:3) as part of the Olivet Discourse. Those who had followed their rabbi, Y’shua, would not betray Him, save one.

Ezekiel 34:23 — Who is the Shepherd? David, the Shepherd King who wrote of the Lord as Shepherd (Psalm 23), was dead. In John 10:11, Jesus claims to be the Good Shepherd. The Shepherd of Ezekiel 34:23 is prophesied to come, but in this passage is not identified with the LORD as it was in Ezekiel 34:17. Interestingly, this a-divine (not divine, nor anti-divine) claim of identification was made to the Pharisees (John 9:40).

Ezekiel 34:26 — There shall be showers of blessing!

Ezekiel 34:30-31 — This echoes Psalm 100:3 – we should know that the LORD is God, that we are His people, and that we are the sheep of His pasture!

Hebrews 13:2 — The Epistles contain many hard to understand statements about angels. We shall judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). The reason for head coverings is because of angels (1 Corinthians 11:10). We might be secretly visited by angels (Hebrews 13:2). We understand things angels don’t (1 Peter 1:12).

Also note the wide variety of people covered in this one chapter:

  • Brothers (Hebrews 13:1)
  • Angels (Hebrews 13:2)
  • Inmates (Hebrews 13:3)
  • Adulterers (Hebrews 13:4)
  • Christians (Hebrews 13:5)
  • Oppressors (Hebrews 13:6)
  • Pastors (Hebrews 13:7)
  • Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:8)
  • False Teachers (Hebrews 13:9)
  • Levites (Hebrews 13:10)
  • Beasts (Hebrews 13:11)

Hebrews 13:6 — From Earl Martin:

Hebrews 13:23 — The Pulpit Commentary thinks that this shows Hebrews was written by Dr. Luke:

It is observable that the word ἀπολύεσθαι, which does not occur in St. Paul’s writings, is, like so many expressions throughout the Epistle, one usual with St. Luke (Luke 22:68; Luke 23:16, etc.; Acts 3:13; Acts 4:21; where it expresses release from prison or captivity). He uses it also for dismissal of persons on a mission (Acts 13:3; Acts 15:30); and hence one view is that Timothy’s having already set out to visit the Church addressed is all that is here meant.

Psalm 115:1 — Praise begins with humility!

Proverbs 27:22 — Several possible interpretations abound:

  • Is a man known by the type of people who praise him?
  • Is a man known by his behavior while praised?
  • Is a man known by what he is praised for?
  • Is a man to test the people who praise him? 

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