Ezekiel prophesies and today’s news by Pastor Don
I love our Potluck Friday Bible studies!!!! Not only is there good food to share, but the Spiritual food is so filling. I had to miss Wednesday Night’s Bible study this week and will miss it next week due to “Holiday” (read that Christmas) concerts at school. Can’t miss those concerts when your kids are performing. This topic is the same topic Pastor Don discussed on Sunday and also on Wednesday, so we are getting an expanded version of the subject.
Before we began talking about Ezekiel, one of our members told Pastor Don how she and a coworker (who also attends our church) were discussing Sunday’s sermon, and one of their fellow office mates left the room and complained about how they were preaching during working hours. Pastor Don pointed out this woman had been coming to our church for about a year now and the Holy Spirit has fired her up. She is now becoming effective in her ministry. He said that when we get saved and filled with the Holy Spirit people see a change in us, and the Bible says, out of our bellies flow rivers of living water (the Word of God). When we begin talking and speaking about Christ, people begin to notice and often persecution begins, for our new being is a threat to their status-quo. Pastor Don pointed out that if there isn’t persecution (in some form) comments, labeling as being a Christian, etc. then our witness is ineffective, you are a dud.
Matthew 13:20-21 (This comes from the passage where the sower sows seeds and some take root, others not) “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for awhile. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
Jesus said that tribulation and persecution would arise because of THE WORD. Those who stand fast will grow strong in faith.
Then he spent some time talking about some of the reasons why people might reject the truth of God’s Word and Jesus. He said that they have usually been hurt somehow in the past, either by bad parents, or abuse, or someone who was an abusive Christian in their lives. It is important to learn the reasons why the person is rejecting God, so we can help them through those issues and then help them realize God is not like their image of Him viewed through the mirror of the past.
(Heather’s note: I can relate. Pastor Don spent two years talking with me, helping me to sort out the mess of my life to a point where I could begin to realize God was not anything like the people who hurt me and that God was a loving father. That God loved me in spite of my sins. I could begin to trust that when I reached out for Him and His forgiveness, and He was there for me.)
Pastor Don said when we deal with people, we don’t want to offend them, but we want to be offensive. There is a difference. We don’t want to be obnoxious about the Gospel, but at the same time, it is ok to leave stuff lying around and be quick to pick up threads of conversations that can lead to sharing.
Pastor Don talked about someone in his band who was unsaved, and he spent years trying to convince him to accept Christ. Finally Pastor Don said he gave up and turned the man over to God. He stopped talking about God to him. A week later, the man saw a book about end time prophecy on Pastor Don’s shelf and asked to borrow it. Pastor Don wanted to say “no” because of the grief the man gave him about God, but the Holy Spirit told him to loan the man the book. He devoured the book in one night, came back, and asked for another book like that one. After devouring that book, the man came in and said, ok, I believe in Jesus, help me get saved. Those seeds planted in a seemingly fruitless way, took root and the man was saved.
That got a resounding PRAISE GOD from our group. We really look for opportunities to praise Him for all the wonderful things He has done and the incredible testimonies that people share.
THE BIBLE STUDY
Pastor Don pointed out that we need to be aware of what is going on in the world around us, the news is beginning to show that prophecies in Ezekiel are now happening in and around Israel. (Heather’s note: remember the prophecies in Ezekiel have a near and a far fulfillment but there are elements in Ezekiel that have not been fulfilled until these times. If you ever have a chance to work with a Dake Bible, they carefully spell out the prophecies in the Bible and tell you if they have been fulfilled or unfulfilled yet and suggested marking the Bible with blue for fulfilled & yellow for unfulfilled – Dake calls these chapters 36 to the end of Ezekiel as unfulfilled.)
Ezekiel 36:17 Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds, to Me their way was like the uncleanness of a woman in her customary impurity.
God allowed the Jews to be dispersed throughout the whole world due to their unfaithfulness and idolatry. This happened with the Assyrians and then later the Romans. The Romans so completely destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. and so completely dispersed the Jews so that today there is no country that there is not a Jewish presence.
Ezekiel 36:22-24 Therefore say to the house of Israel, “Thus says the Lord GOD: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the Lord GOD, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. (24) For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.
Pastor Don told us to write May 6, 1948 next to Verse 24, because that was when Israel was made a Nation. Before that date there were no Palestinians living in the land, only a handful of people lived in the rock-hard barren land. When the people were dispersed, the land lost its two growing seasons and became barren, so barren that even Mark Twain commented about how the land was barren and nothing could grow there. Today the Palestinians are claiming that they belong there, but before 1948 they were not there, it was only after the Israelites came and the land came back to life that people wanted it.
Ezekiel 36:25-32 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. (Heather’s note: this is referring to the Jews brought back to the land, and isn’t this what God has done in our lives when we are saved? He gives us a new heart and a new Spirit. God will do the same for the Jews as they come to know Him and the Messiah.) Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will deliver you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord GOD, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!”
Today in Israel there is a mix of religious and nonreligious Jews. The religious Jews are gathering all the materials together to rebuild the Temple. But Pastor Don pointed out that Tel Aviv is very much like New York City – money, power, idolatry, lust, etc.
This prophecy is beginning to be fulfilled – for once Israel moved back to the Land, God again allowed the two growing seasons, the land began to flourish and now they provide 60-70% of the fruit and vegetables to the European Union. But there are still parts that need to be fulfilled, the hearts need to be softened, and they will begin to see that they have sinned. God points out that He does it for His Word’s sake, it is not because of their good works or ways, but it is because the Lord wills it.
Then we went quickly over Ezekiel 37. You may want to read the whole chapter. This is where God asks Ezekiel if the dry bones can be revived, and Pastor Don says that Ezekiel answers in a way that shows he has doubt and unbelief, but will not dishonor God with it, He says, “O Lord GOD, You know.” I don’t know, Lord is the way a man of God expresses doubt and unbelief and yet he hopes. He asks a question. Is it supposed to be? He wants to know if it is the will or God, and if he can believe for it.
Ezekiel 37:9 Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, “Thus says the Lord GOD; “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain that they may live.
When we are hoping, we don’t put our faith for it. Can you have true Bible faith if you don’t know God’s will? No, that is why we must know God’s word so well that when a situation comes up we can know God’s will according to His Word. It is God’s will to breathe life into dead bones (which we are dead until we come alive in Christ).
How do we get faith? Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Some pray that we need an increase of faith, and that is not true, we are given a measure of faith, and it only takes faith as a grain of mustard seed to move a mountain – we don’t need to increase our faith, just apply the faith we already have.
Pastor Don asked, why we don’t get more faith for something and the answer was: You don’t get more faith, because you either have faith for something or you don’t have faith for something – it isn’t about quantity of faith. Faith either IS or it ISN’T.
That is why we need to be honest with God about where our faith is, just like the father of the demon possessed boy who prayed, “Lord I believe. Help my unbelief.” God can work with honesty. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(Heather’s note, Pastor Don once gave a great explanation about faith, he likened it to receiving a notice in the mailbox that you have a parcel at the post office. You have the notice [sort of like the Word promises in the Bible] and you don’t have the parcel, but you believe by faith that the notice you have indicates that there is an actual parcel at the post office. You drive to the post office believing you will receive the package [do you see the package? no. Do you do the things that imply that there will be a package even though you don’t see it? yes. You believe in faith that the package is at the post office so you take a step of faith and drive to the post office.] You turn in your receipt and get the package in your hand. Once you have it in your hand, your faith has manifested in an actual package. Do you now have faith for the package? no, why because you can see it and hold it. You can only have faith for what is not seen. Once it is manifested, then there is no need for faith.)
The only way we get more faith, is the supernatural faith that comes as a gift of the spirit, when the Holy Spirit empowers you for a certain thing – like a major healing of someone, walking on water, etc. Our mustard seeds of faith are specific for particular areas of our life, like getting a job faith, healing a cold faith, getting a new car faith, etc. And when we exercise our faith in one area it strengthens our faith (Heather says, sort of a spiritual workout) and then when we face a new situation we can draw on our faith in other areas to apply it to the new situation. That is why we move from faith to faith and glory to glory.
What happens often in the church is that people go to spiritual healers and big name faith people like Benny Hinn hoping to get what they need by drawing on the faith of someone else. While that is ok in some instances, it is not God’s best for us. He wants us to develop and act on our own faith. So often when you draw on another’s faith you may be healed for the moment but doubt and unbelief can creep in and steal your healing. So developing our own faith by hearing the Word of God and applying it in our lives will give more consistent results and make us stronger in our faith.
Another example of faith is lightning: Which believe it or not does not just travel from the sky to the earth. First there is a stepped leader in the sky (the Word of God), that moves toward the ground to create a pathway of electrical flow. When it nears the ground a strong positive charge from the ground rises up (called a streamer – or in our case our faith), which causes the stepped ladder to rush down and meet the upward charge. Then we see the lightning strike. Notice, the charge from Heaven is faster, longer and stronger than the weak charge from the Earth. That is like God rushing down to meet our faith.
Pastor Don stated when a person comes up in the prayer line he can see in the Spirit who has the anointing already on them, and who has their faith and expectation ready, then when the point of contact – they laying on of hands – happens a transfer of Power from God occurs. The person usually receives the power from God before the laying on of hands occurs. It is a FAITH RESPONSE. That does not mean that you don’t pray for a person who needs prayer, but often if you take the time to give them the word of God and a chance to build their faith for the healing, then the chances of healing are far greater.
Back to Ezekiel – Israel failed to get into the proper position regarding God, and went after false idols. While in captivity, some actually actively pursued God. One example is Daniel, who refused to compromise his faith and do what his pagan captors wanted him to do. He was ready and knew when the 70 years of captivity would be over, and positioned himself to petition God for what God had promised, the return to the land. We read similar accounts in Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
We must pursue God, not wait for Him to come to us.
Ezekiel 37:15-17 Again the word of the LORD came to me saying: “As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.” Then take another stick and write on it, “For Joseph, the stick of Ephriam, and for all the house of Israel, his companions. Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand.
Judah means praise. Israel is the nation of Israel. In this instance Judah means the Church and the Messianic Jews who are saved in the last days. Remember Jesus was from the tribe of Judah, the lion of the tribe of Judah.
A question was raised about the rapture, and Pastor Don pointed out that we don’t know where in this the rapture occurs. That God keeps that secret for He knows our nature, if we knew the exact date of His coming we might kick back and do nothing, lord it over others, or get holier than thou. So He keeps us only looking for the seasons, not the exact time. That way we stay humble and as servants.
Notice that the stick is bound together, Israel and Judah to make ONE NEW MAN. We are one Bride of Christ, one Body of Christ. The wall that is currently there between Jew and Gentile must be broken down. God, through the Holy Spirit will help this to happen. We can’t do it in our own strength and power.
Ezekiel 37:18-19 And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, “Will you not show us what you mean by these?”—“Say to them, “Thus says the Lord GOD, “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephriam, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand. This is God’s desire.
Ezekiel 37:22 “and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.
This is the end days, when Jesus will rule and reign, and there will be one King, and One Kingdom. He will rule and reign on the earth the way God originally intended.
It will be nations and kingdoms under ONE reign. There won’t be an Old Testament and a New Testament. God will bring it together In Him (Jesus).
Ezekiel 37:24-25 David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; the shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob; My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.
Pastor Don pointed out that the Shepherd is Jesus, that he believes that literally David will rule and reign, with others under him. David will be their prince forever, Jesus their King/Shepherd. David with his renewed body will rule.
Pastor Don then went on with Ezekiel 38, but this was a long Bible study (we ask tons of questions and he patiently answers them) and we didn’t leave until about 3:10. The teaching started about 1:00. So it is lots of notes. I will put up the second half of the Bible study tomorrow – and guess what!!!!! Pastor Danquah will be speaking at our church at 7:00 Sunday night, He also gives great teachings, so I will share those as well. I am so blessed to sit under great teachers.
Have a wonderful night!
Heather’s Blog Recent Posts
- John 14:1-14 – Many mansions, the Way, the Truth, and the Life taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Multiplying disciples/Discipleship identification – notes from discipleship class taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Multiplying Disciples – notes from Discipleship class taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Syria – letter from trapist nuns
- John 14:1-11 taught by Pastor Don Moore with comments from Rabbi Michael Zeitler
- Notes from homily taught by Father Raphael Iannone taught August 25, 2013 – Luke 13:22-30 – The last shall be first, the first last
- Homily – Luke 13:22-30 – The last shall be first, the first last taught by Father Raphael Iannone
- Notes from a Homily on Luke 12:49-53 by Father Raphael Iannone
- Facing Your Jerusalem – transcript Say Amen show 161 taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Mammon – homily by Father Raphael Iannone