The Preaching of Ezekiel
March 3rd, 1985 @ 10:50 AM
THE BOOK OF EZEKIEL
DR. W. A. CRISWELL
3-03-85 10:50 a.m.
This is the pastor delivering the message entitled The Book of Ezekiel. In these present days, we are preaching from the message of that incomparable prophet. When I prepared the sermon and laid it out before me, I looked at the content of it, and it would take hours for me to deliver it. So all we can do this morning is to just take some of the things that I have prepared and ask God to bless them to our souls.
The Book of Ezekiel has been described as the most difficult in the Bible. For every ten who will read Isaiah, there might be seven who would read Jeremiah, and there might be two who would read Ezekiel. Someone would pick it up and read the first chapter and be discouraged by the vision, lay it down and read no further.
Yet Ezekiel, writing out of slavery and out of the exile in the Babylonian captivity, brought to the people a hope, a golden promise. And it was in the work and ministry of Ezekiel that the nation survived, that the synagogue was born, and out of the synagogue our church. The services that we share today came out of the ministry and prophetic work of Ezekiel.
Ezekiel writes very carefully and in great detail. Thirteen times in his book he will give the exact date that the prophecy of the Lord came to him. It covers a period of twenty-two years. And each time he will date it from the day of his exile as a Babylonian slave and captive.
Jeremiah is so different. Jeremiah did not write any part of his prophecies until after he’d been delivering the message of God for many years. And then they are a jumbled mass. It is difficult chronologically to arrange the prophecies of Jeremiah. Not Ezekiel—all of them are carefully dated; all of them are chronologically arranged, and all of them follow a very definite pattern of unity and presentation.
Ezekiel is characterized by more different kinds and types of literature, of writing, than any other book in the Bible by far. Every type of word you’ll find in Ezekiel. There will be prophecy, and there will be prediction, and there will be signs and symbols. There will be parables and allegories. There will be similitude. Every kind and type of writing will you find in the Book of Ezekiel. The tremendously gifted German poet and dramatist Schiller said, “I would like to learn to read Hebrew in order that I could read Ezekiel in his native language.”
Ezekiel’s life is divided into two parts. One: before Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, before the nation was destroyed and then the second part, after the fall of Jerusalem. The first part is filled with appalling condemnation, the judgment of God upon the sins and the apostasy of the nation. And the second part that begins after the word was brought to him of the fall of the city, the second part is filled with comfort, and promise, and the description of restoration and of a golden millennial future.
The book itself could easily be divided into three parts. One, chapter 1 through 24: this is the condemnation of the judgment of God upon the apostasy of the nation and the sins of the people [Ezekiel 1-24]. The second part, the middle part: starting at chapter 25 and going through [chapter] 32 is the prophecy of God addressed to the nations around Israel [Ezekiel 25-32]. And then beginning at chapter 33 through the remainder, chapter 48, there is a description of the restoration of the nation and of the golden millennial future that awaits them and the coming kingdom of God [Ezekiel 33-48].
There are three things, three kinds of things in the Book of Ezekiel. One is apocalyptic visions, the second is sign sermons, and the other is direct predictions. The apocalyptic work of Ezekiel finds reverberations throughout the Apocalypse of the New Testament [Revelation 1-22].
It’s unusual when you remember that Ezekiel was in exile [Ezekiel 1:1], and there he saw these apocalyptic visions of God and His coming kingdom. John was an exile, he on the Isle of Patmos when he also saw those great, glorious apocalyptic revelations of the world that is yet to come [Revelation 1:9]. Both of them in exile, both of them seeing marvelously, vivid, and true revelations of God of the apocalyptic future.
Another thing so evident in Ezekiel are sign sermons, sign sermons. When you read through the Bible and look at the message of the prophets—all of them—they will deliver their message so ofttimes clothed in a sign, something they are acting out. I presume God chose to do it that way that it might be memorable, that it might be impressed upon the minds of the people, that it might catch their attention and that they might listen to it: a sign message, a sign sermon.
For example, Ahijah, the prophet Ahijah, met Jeroboam the chief officer in the court of Solomon toward the end of Solomon’s reign. And he took Jeroboam’s mantle, and he tore it into twelve parts, and he gave ten of them to Jeroboam and said, “Thus saith the Lord God, ten of the tribes of Israel are given to you. You are to be their king and their leader” [1 Kings 11:29-31]; a sign sermon.
Isaiah, for example, the entire twentieth chapter of Isaiah is given over unto a sign sermon. Isaiah walked naked and barefoot through the streets of Jerusalem for three solid years [Isaiah 20:2-6], a sign and a sermon and a message from God that their dependence upon Egypt and Ethiopia was the dependence upon a naked and helpless and fruitless nation.
A sign sermon: Jeremiah, for example again, took an earthen vessel, a jar and dashed it in pieces [Jeremiah 19:10], a sign of what God was going to do to the nation in judgment. Jeremiah wore around his neck an ox yoke [Jeremiah 27:2-13]. It was a sign sermon from God that the people were going into captivity and into slavery.
But out of all of the sign sermons found in the Book of God, none are as numerous as you will find in Ezekiel. In the first few chapters of Ezekiel, you will find ten of them, one after another, a sign sermon. Such is the thing as in the fifth chapter, God told him to shave off his head and to shave off the beard of his face, and then to take the hair and do three things, dividing it into three parts. One is to be burned by fire, the second is to be cut into by small pieces, and the third is to be scattered to the wind [Ezekiel 5:1-2]. That’s a sign sermon. The city is to be burned by fire, and the people are to be cut to pieces by the sword, and a third of them are to be scattered to the ends of the earth; a sign sermon. In the twelfth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, Ezekiel acts out the exile, the coming slavery into Babylon. God tells him to dig a hole through the wall of his house and to take out his baggage in the night [Ezekiel 12:5-7], a message to the people of their coming captivity and slavery before the Babylonian army [Ezekiel 12:11]; sign sermons.
But there’s hardly anything in all of literature, and certainly in history, as impressive as the predictive prophecy of Ezekiel who describes the course of this world and of its nations to the end of time. I’m going, for example, just in the moment that I have, I’m going to take two of them; two of the predictive prophecies of Ezekiel that concern nations, cities, that we can look at today. The first one will be against Tyre, T-y-r-e, Tyre, the great maritime Phoenician city. Through all the centuries of that long ago day, Tyre was the greatest maritime power that the world at that time had ever known. And its city and its defenses seemed impregnable. The Phoenicians, Tyreans, organized, founded Carthage the great city in North Africa and the challenge of the Roman Empire itself. Tyre, this is what he will say about Tyre. In chapter 26 he says:
Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I bring upon Tyre Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings…bring him with horses, chariots, horsemen, companies, people.
He shall slay with the sword… he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee.
He shall set his engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes, he shall break down thy towers.
Now that was a prophecy of the coming of Nebuchadnezzar, leading his Babylonian army against the city. It came to pass and Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre for thirteen years and reduced a great maritime power to almost desperation. But, he never overwhelmed the city. He never fully conquered it, and the thirteen-year siege ended in a truce.
Now I want you to look at what Ezekiel says. When does this come to pass? He says, beginnning at verse 12:
They shall make a spoil of thy riches, make a prey of thy merchandise: shall break down thy walls, destroy thy houses: they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water.
Well, when is that coming to pass?
And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease and the sound of thy harps to be no more heard.
I will make thee like the top of the rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; and thou shalt be built no more…
Well, when did that come to pass? That the city is wholly destroyed, scraped like a bare rock and a place where fishermen place their nets, and it will never be built again? When was that? That came to pass two hundred fifty years after Nebuchadnezzar.
Two hundred fifty years later according to the prophecy of Ezekiel, Alexander the Great came, and Tyre had—after the siege of Nebuchadnezzar—Tyre had built its city on an island, away from the mainland. And with its great maritime fleet and with its island fortresses, it was impregnable, unassailable, unapproachable! What Alexander the Great did, exactly what the prophet said, the stones and the timber out of the old city of Tyre, Alexander the Great put in the water and made a causeway from the mainland to the island, and crossing over that causeway, he destroyed the city forever. It is as bare as the top of a rock. And on it today the fishermen place their nets to dry, and it has never been rebuilt. What did the prophet say? “Thou shalt be built no more” [Ezekiel 26:14]: the prophecy of Ezekiel!
I take just one other, just one other: Egypt, in the twenty-ninth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, beginning at verse 14 and 15, the prophet says they shall be there. It is translated in the King James version “a base,” a base nation, a lowly nation, a down-here nation.” It shall be the basest, the lowest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself anymore above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations” [Ezekiel 29:14-15].
That is what the prophet said about Egypt. There are two things to be noted in the prophecy. First, the prophet said that Assyria will be destroyed forever [Nahum 1:8-14], and that Babylon will be destroyed forever [Isaiah 13:19-20]. There is no more Assyrian kingdom. There is no more Babylonian kingdom. But he does not say that about Egypt. He does not say that Egypt will be destroyed forever. What he says about Egypt is, remember in that ancient day the great empires of the world were Assyria, and Babylon, and Egypt? What the prophet says is that Egypt will never again be a great kingdom, and a great power, and a great empire. On the other hand, he says Egypt will be among the lowest of the nations [Ezekiel 29:14-15]. Have you been to Egypt? Have you ever seen such poverty in your life? Have you ever seen such illiteracy? Have you ever seen such degradation? Nobody ever since that day of the prophecy of Ezekiel would think of Egypt as a great, dynamic power in the earth. It has come to pass exactly as the prophet says. Just look at these things. Read these things in the Word of God and look at them today.
Now in the time that remains, we are going to look at one other thing that so characterizes the great prophecy of Ezekiel; what he says concerning Israel. First: why it is, why it is that the wrath of God burned so fiercely against that nation. And why it was He destroyed the temple, and destroyed the city, and destroyed the kingdom. Why was it that the wrath of God burned so fiercely against Israel? And why is it that God sent them by the famine, and by the sword, and by the slavery, why did He send them away and scatter them in the earth? What is the judgment of God?
And as I said, the first part of the life of Ezekiel was given over to an appalling denunciation of the kingdom, of the people [Ezekiel 1-24]. How is it…what was it that Israel did that so brought down upon them the judgment and wrath and intervention of God? Well, in the eighth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, God took Ezekiel by the forelock of his head and brought him to Jerusalem and set him in the temple [Ezekiel 8:3].
Now you look at what God shows Ezekiel secretly in the house of the Lord. Chapter 8:5: “So I lifted up, God said to him, lift up your eyes toward the north. And I lifted up mine eyes, and behold northward at the gate of the altar was this image, an idol,” a Baal or Astarte idol. He calls it an image of jealousy [Ezekiel 8:5]. God says, “I am a jealous God, visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children of the third and fourth generations” [Deuteronomy 5:9]. God does not brook any other God. God does not sanction any other worship. It is God alone! “There is one God. And thou shalt love and serve the Lord God with all of your heart and mind and soul” [Mark 12:29-30]. And He brooks no other approach.
“Look,” He says to Ezekiel, “this image, the image of a heathen idol god at the north gate of the altar in the temple itself” [Ezekiel 8:5]. Then He says, verse 6:
. . . but turn ye yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.
And the Lord brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.
Then He said to me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: And when I digged in the wall, behold the door.
And He said to me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do there.
So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about.
And there stood before them seventy elders of the ancients of the Israel.
And they were bowing down, and in the most abominable and unspeakable way, were worshiping with beasts. And I am too timid and I am too hesitant to describe how they worshiped those gods with beasts—beasts! [Ezekiel 8:12]. That was going on inside the temple of the Lord. Now 13:
Turn ye yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.
Then He brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house which is toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Tammuz was the consort of Ishtar.
Then said He unto me: Hast thou seen this, O son of man?
How do the women worship Tammuz? I can’t say in public. I don’t have an uncouth and rude spirit that would allow me to describe it, that in the temple and in the house of God, worshiping Tammuz in an unthinkable way [Ezekiel 8:13-14]. Then the Lord said, [verses] 15 and 16:
Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn ye yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.
And He brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, inside of it, He brought me to the very temple of the Lord, and between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men…
There were twenty-four courses of the priesthood. So you had the high priest and twenty-four of the heads of those courses [1 Chronicles 24:4]. There they were between the porch and the altar, twenty-five of them, “with their backs toward the temple of God, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east” [Ezekiel 8:16]. And the Lord God said, “It is enough! It is enough. It is enough.” And the Lord in chapter 9, the Lord’s glory, the glory of the Lord goes away from the Holy of Holies [Ezekiel 9:3]. And in chapter 10, the glory of the Lord leaves the temple [Ezekiel 10:18-19], and in chapter 11, the glory of the Lord leaves the Holy City [Ezekiel 11:23]. And there remained nothing but the judgments of Almighty God [Ezekiel 11:5-12].
Now in my sermon I have prepared here a message on the unpardonable sin. In the sixth chapter of the Book of Genesis and the third verse, it says, “My Spirit shall not always strive with men” [Genesis 6:3]. In the first chapter of the Book of Romans, three times will you find there in that chapter, three times in the Book of Romans, three times will you find it: paredōken, paredōken, Romans 1:24, Romans 1:26, Romans 1:28, paredōken, “God gives them up! God gives them up.” There comes a time in a man’s life when the Lord says, “It is enough. It is enough. It is enough. You go your own way. You find your own salvation. You meet your own destiny. I am done!”
When a man apostatizes to a certain place, thereafter it is between him, and death, and damnation, and darkness, and despair. “It is an awful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” [Hebrews 10:31]. “For our God is a consuming fire” [Hebrews 12:29]; isn’t that what the Book says? “The beginning of wisdom is the awesome fear of the Lord” [Proverbs 9:10]. God said, “It is enough. It is enough!” And the people were carried into captivity and into slavery, and were slain by the sword, and scattered to the ends of the earth [Ezekiel 36:19].
My father—anybody’s father would make an impression upon you—my father believed in the unpardonable sin. And he would point out to me men in our village, “This man,” he says, “said ‘no’ to God for the last time, and he’ll die unconverted.” And I watched them, kept up with them for the years that followed after, and every one of those men died without Christ. It’s an awesome thing to say “no” to God. When the Lord appeals, and when He begs, and when He pleads, and when He convicts, and when He invites, and we say “no,” it’s like playing with death and damnation itself. Awesome!
Now the last part and I have to close, the last part. God, in His elective purpose, for some of us He has an abounding grace. I don’t know why. Why am I not a Hottentot? Why wasn’t I born where the name of Christ was never heard? Why am I not an Australian aborigine? Or why am I not an infidel? Why should I have been brought up in a home where the people, mother and father, loved Jesus and went to church every day? Why was it that I was elected and chosen of God thus to be a spokesman for Him? I don’t know! It lies in the prerogative of the sovereign grace of the Almighty; an elective purpose into which I cannot enter.
All I know is, were it not for the election [Romans 9:11], the whole world would be lost. All of us would be lost, but God, in His elective purpose, in His grace, reaches down, and He speaks, and some of the people will respond—not all, but some—and so it was with Israel [Romans 11:7]. And the rest of this tremendous Book of Ezekiel has to do with God’s elective purpose in Israel [Ezekiel 33-48].
In the forty-third and the forty-fourth chapters of the Book of Ezekiel, the glory of God comes back to the city, and back to the people, and back to the temple, and back to the Holy Land [Ezekiel 43:1-2]. And in the Book of Ezekiel we have these things. First, in the twentieth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, we have the judgment of God’s people; the judgment [Ezekiel 20:33-38]. There are several judgments. All of us who are Christians shall stand in the judgment day at the bēma of Christ [2 Corinthians 5:10], not to be judged whether we are saved or lost; that judgment is now. I am saved or lost now. But that judgment concerns our works and our rewards. We, all of us, all of us shall stand at the bēma of Christ [2 Corinthians 5:10].
If you read 1 Corinthians 3 and 2 Corinthians 5, we all shall stand at the bēma of our Lord [1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10]. That’s the judgment of the Christians, that’s your judgment. There will be a judgment of the Gentile nations of the world when the Lord shall come in His glory, described in Matthew, chapter 25, “When the Lord comes in all of His glory, the nations of the world will be gathered before Him, and there will be a judgment of the nations” [Matthew 25:31-46].
In the twentieth chapter of the Book of the Apocalypse, of the Revelation, there is the great white throne judgment of these that are lost, whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and they are cast in the lake of fire forever and ever. There is a judgment for the lost; the man who says “no” to the grace of Christ [Revelation 20:11-15]. There is another judgment. There is a judgment of Israel, the chosen family of God. And in the twentieth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, they are there brought out into wilderness, and He pleads with them face to face [Ezekiel 20:35]. “And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will purge out from among you those that transgress” [Ezekiel 20:37-38]. “And they shall enter into the land of Israel, and I will be their God and they shall be My people” [Ezekiel 20:40].
I wish I had time to follow through with that because that is carefully delineated in Zechariah chapter 12 and chapter 13. They, all of Israel, will be before the Lord, and they are going to pass under His rod one at a time [Ezekiel 20:37]. And those that are rebellious and transgressors, they will be rejected [Ezekiel 20:38]. And these that turn, and mourn, and repent, they will enter into the millennial kingdom of our Lord [Ezekiel 20:40; Zechariah 12:10]. And Zechariah says two-thirds of them will rebel [Zechariah 13:8]. They will refuse. They will say no to God. But one-third of them will be saved, and one-third of them will enter into the millennial kingdom of Christ [Zechariah 13:9], and that’s what Paul means in Romans 11:26 when he says, “And so all Israel shall be saved.” We are going to mention that in just a moment—that is the judgment of Israel.
Then, as I turned pages of the Book of Ezekiel, in the thirty-sixth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, there is the regathering of the people in their land in unbelief [Ezekiel 36:24-28]. And it is when they are back in the land that the Lord appears to them, and a nation is born in a day [Isaiah 66:8]. And that is described in the thirty-sixth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel:
I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.
And there will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you will be cleansed: from all of your filthiness…And a new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put in you: and I will take away the stony heart and I will give you a heart of flesh . . .
And I will put My Spirit within you, and you will walk in My statutes, and keep them.
And you shall dwell in the land I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God.
There is going to be a time when the people are already gathered in the land in unbelief, and there they are going to be converted: as a nation they are going to turn to the Lord. They are going to accept the great Lord Messiah. And there they are going to be born in the kingdom of God. They will have a new heart, a new heart, a new commitment [Ezekiel 36:24-28].
Then I don’t have time to speak of their resurrection from the nations of the world, the valley of dry bones; resurrected where they have been buried in the nations of the world [Ezekiel 37]. And then beginning at chapter 40 and to chapter 48, we have the marvelous, marvelous, millennial kingdom [Ezekiel 40-48]. We have a new temple, and we have a new millennial worship, and they will have a new Holy Land. Oh, it’s a glorious prophecy of Ezekiel, of the world that is yet to come!
Now in this closing minute let me say just one word, and then I’ll have to close. There is not a liberal in the world—there’s no exception to this—there is not a liberal in the world, not a liberal academician, not a liberal public school teacher, not a liberal pulpiteer, not a liberal pastor, there’s not a liberal in the world but that identifies the church with Israel. They give to Israel all the curses, and they take for themselves all the blessings. And they identify the church with Israel; therein, saying that God has nothing to do anymore with Israel. There is no future for them, they are a flotsam and jetsam among the nations of the world, and they are nothing more in the sight of God. Every liberal in the world, everyone of them teaches that, preaches that, and apparently believes that!
There are two things that I want to say about it. Number one is this: that denies the Word of God. In the eleventh chapter of the Book of Romans, verses 1 and 2, Paul says, “I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid.” No! “God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew” [Romans 11:1-2].
Then he says, “I would not have you, brethren, that you be without knowledge concerning this mustērion,” the secret that God hath kept in His heart until He reveals it to His apostles, “lest ye be wise in your own conceits” that you stand up there and preach and teach wiser than God Himself. “Lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness has happened to Israel, until the plērōma of the Gentiles be come in” [Romans 11:25]; until the last Gentile that God has written in the Book of Life comes down that aisle. When the last Gentile, when the last convert comes down that aisle, and confesses his faith in the Lord Jesus, then, then, then, “All Israel shall be saved”:
. . . as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.
They shall be beloved and elected for the fathers’ sakes.
For the gifts and calling of God are without change, without repentance.
I may change, but He does not! [Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8]. History may change, but He does not! God promised Israel these things, pages and pages and pages of them. And God has not forgotten His promises. God still has a great program for Israel, revealed here in the Prophets and especially in Ezekiel.
Now my second thing and then I’m through. My brother and my sister, if God lies to Israel, how do I know but that He lies to me? If God doesn’t keep His promises to Israel, how do I know that He will keep His promises to me? If God deceived Israel and wrote all of these promises to Israel and God doesn’t keep them, how do I know in the New Testament that He will keep those promises to me? How do I know that in the great judgment day, I will stand there with a Savior saying, “For My sake, for My blood, for My atoning grace I have forgiven him”? [Ephesians 1:7].
How do I know He will raise me from the dead? [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17]. How do I know He will open for me the gates of glory? If God deceived Israel, how do I know but that He will deceive me? If He lied to Israel, how do I know but that He would lie to me? If He doesn’t keep His promises to Israel, how do I know that He will keep His promises to me?
Therein lies the tremendous assurance that I have in God. The same Lord God that made those promises to Israel is the same Lord God that makes these wonderful promises to me. And if I believe them, and accept them, and trust them, and give my life and soul to them [2 Peter 1:4], every promise that God has made, both to them and to me, He will faithfully keep.
Now I want to say one thing in confirmation of that. All those promises that God made to Israel, look, look, they are confirmed today. Look, God says, “They will be buried among the nations of the world” [Zechariah 7:14], Israel, the Jew. They’ll be buried among the nations of the world, scattered among the nations of the world, but they will always be a people, always be a people [Romans 9:29]. Did you ever see an Edomite? Did you ever see an Ammonite? Did you ever see a Jebusite? My brother, those nations have been lost and buried and dead so long ago, nobody knows when they came out of existence.
If you’ll walk with me, I’ll introduce you here in the city of Dallas to some of the dearest, finest people you’ll ever know in this world. They’re Israelites; they’re Jews; they’re God’s people, and He said “They will be here till I come again” [Luke 21:32]. “They will be here till I come again”—a confirmation of the Word of God.
A second thing God says in His Word; that they will go back to their homeland, they will go back to Palestine [Ezekiel 37:21]. They’ll go back to Israel. In my day, in my day, in May 18, 1948, there was created the nation of Israel for the first time in almost two thousand years. In my day I went over there right after they had done that, and I watched David Ben-Gurion and those dear people as they began the new life of a new nation. God said that! Returning in unbelief, they’re not worshipers of our Lord Messiah, but they are there in unbelief [Ezekiel 36:24-28], just as God said.
Another thing, Jeremiah said this Hebrew language will be spoken again in this land [Jeremiah 31:23], in this land! My brother, Hebrew was a dead language for two thousand, five hundred years. For two thousand, five hundred years Hebrew was a dead language, never spoken. Even when the [Jews] came back from their captivity, they had forgotten their native language, and they were all speaking Aramaic. That’s why Ezra had to stand up on a high pulpit and explain the Word of God to the people [Nehemiah 8:4-5]. They couldn’t read it any longer.
But Jeremiah said, in this land—in this place—this Hebrew tongue will be spoken again [Jeremiah 31:23]. And if you go over there to Israel, the language, the national language spoken in Israel today is Hebrew, the Hebrew of this Bible, just according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, the Word of the Lord.
I’m just pointing out to you that God confirms His Word. He confirms His promises. He confirms His ableness to bring to pass these things that to us are unthinkable and impossible. And when I take them out of the Bible and look at them as I live in them, Lord, Lord, You promised me if I would turn and look to You in repentance and in faith, in turning and acceptance [Isaiah 45:22], that You would write my name in the Book of life [Revelation 20:12]. What an assurance! You said, Lord, that when I grow old and die, that You will raise me from the dead and that I will live in Your sight [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17]. You said that, Lord. Will God do that?
“I know,” said an Old Testament patriarch:
. . . my Redeemer liveth, And that at the latter day He shall stand upon the earth:
And the worms, through this skin destroy my body, Yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Whom I shall see…and not another
He will keep His promise. And as one of our eloquent preachers said, “And the nail-pierced hands that opened for me the gates of grace will some day open for me the gates of glory.” If I would trust Him and give my life to Him and receive Him [Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9-10], God will keep every promise He has ever made, be my friend and companion now, guide me through the veil of this world, help in every decision, stand by me in age and in death, and some day be my great mediator, and pleader, and Savior, and intercessor in the great world that is yet to come [John 14:3; Hebrews 7:25].
And that is the message of salvation and glory that God commissioned us to bring to you. By turning, by accepting, by believing, by confessing, by trusting [Romans 10:11-12], God will keep every promise that He has ever made, and it is ours for the taking, for the having. Don’t buy it; don’t have enough money to buy it. Not good for it; couldn’t be worthy of it. But out of grace, out of the love of the Lord, He bestows His celestial and heavenly and everlasting gifts of life upon us.
Come, welcome! God bless you as you answer with your life. In the balcony round there are stairways, time to spare, come.
[Master tape ends here, before the invitation]