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Ezekiel – The Watchman and His Message

1) The watchman’s commission (33:1-9)


a) The duty of the watchman (33:1-6)
(1) The watchman and the city wall - 2 Sam 18:24-25; 2 Kings 9:17;
Jeremiah 4:5; Jeremiah 6:1, “Blow the trumpet in the land”; Also
Hosea 8:1; Amos 3:6; Habakkuk 2:1, “I will stand my watch”
(2) Cf. Guard duty or a military watch!
ii) The Lord as the director: “I have made you a watchman” (7)
iii) Personal accountability: “his blood I will require at the watchman’s
hand”
b) The function of the watchman (33:7-9)
i) “you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me”
ii) NT counterparts: Acts 20:26,27; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 13:17
2) The watchman’s message (33:10-20)
a) God’s gracious invitation (33:10-11) – “Turn, turn from your evil ways!”
b) The responsibility of the hearer (33:12-20)
i) Eschew self-righteousness
ii) The people object: (17-20) “The way of the Lord is not fair”
c) NT perspective: 1 Timothy 2:4 w 2 Peter 3:9
3) The watchman’s liberty (33:21-33)
a) The fall of Jerusalem (33:21-22)
b) The Cause of Judah’s Ruin (33:23-29)
c) The picture of hearing but not doing (33:30-33)
4) Discussion: What are our responsibilities pertaining to the Gospel?

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Ezekiel – The Watchman and His Message
Scripture: Chapter 33

Key Verse: Ezekiel 33:11, “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no
pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and
live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’”

Outline:

1) The watchman’s commission (33:1-9)


2) The watchman’s message (33:10-20)
3) The watchman’s liberty (33:21-33)

Detail:

Introduction:
The final section of Ezekiel is a message of restoration and blessing.
o Past:
 Her ancient enemies and their defeat (gathered in Sheol)
 Her sins and the deserved judgments
o Future:
 A future enemy (Gog and Allies Attack Israel) Ezekiel 38-39
 A new city and a new Temple
o Message:
 Comfort for the people
 Hope of future restoration
 Blessing in the millennial kingdom
Chapters 33-34 a turning point in the book
o News of the destruction of Jerusalem reach Ezekiel and the exiles
(33:21, “And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in
the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, that one who had
escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has been
captured!””)

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Ezekiel – The Watchman and His Message
o Ezekiel, formerly rendered mute – only to speak when God
instructed: 3:26-27, “I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your
mouth, so that you shall be mute and not be one to rebuke them, for
they are a rebellious house. 27 But when I speak with you, I will open
your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ He
who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they
are a rebellious house”
o Now (33:22) tongue loosed: “Now the hand of the LORD had been
upon me the evening before the man came who had escaped. And
He had opened my mouth; so when he came to me in the morning,
my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute.”
 24:27, “On that day your mouth will be opened to him who has
escaped; you shall speak and no longer be mute. Thus you will
be a sign to them, and they shall know that I am the LORD.”
 29:21, “In that day I will cause the horn of the house of Israel
to spring forth, and I will open your mouth to speak in their
midst. Then they shall know that I am the LORD”
o Chapter 33 renews Ezekiel’s commission to be a watchman
o Chapter 34 contrasts the false shepherds of Israel with the coming
true Shepherd – the Messiah

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Ezekiel – The Watchman and His Message
Detail:

1) The watchman’s commission (33:1-9)


a) The command to speak significant in that Ezekiel had been forbidden to
speak:
i) 24:26-27, “that on that day one who escapes will come to you to let you
hear it with your ears? 27 On that day your mouth will be opened to him
who has escaped; you shall speak and no longer be mute. Thus you will
be a sign to them, and they shall know that I am the LORD.”
b) The duty of the watchman (33:1-6)
i) The watchman and the city wall
(1) 2 Sam 18:24-25, “Now David was sitting between the two gates. And
the watchman went up to the roof over the gate, to the wall, lifted
his eyes and looked, and there was a man, running alone. 25 Then the
watchman cried out and told the king. And the king said, “If he is
alone, there is news in his mouth.” And he came rapidly and drew
near.”
(2) 2 Kings 9:17, “Now a watchman stood on the tower in Jezreel, and he
saw the company of Jehu as he came, and said, “I see a company of
men.” And Joram said, “Get a horseman and send him to meet them,
and let him say, ‘Is it peace?’””
(3) Jeremiah 4:5; Jeremiah 6:1, “Blow the trumpet in the land”
(4) Also Hosea 8:1; Amos 3:6; Habakkuk 2:1, “I will stand my watch”
(5) Cf. Guard duty or a military watch!
ii) The Lord as the director: “I have made you a watchman for the house of
Israel” (7)
iii) Note the hypothetical aspects:
(1) Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak
to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the
sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their
territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword
coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people,

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Ezekiel – The Watchman and His Message
4
then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take
warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be
on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not
take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes
warning will save his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword
coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not
warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among
them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at
the watchman’s hand.’
(2) “if he blows the trumpet”
(3) “whoever hears … does not take warning”
(4) “if the sword comes …”
(5) “if … sees … and does not blow the trumpet” … “the people not
warned”
iv) Personal accountability: “his blood I will require at the watchman’s
hand”
c) The function of the watchman (33:7-9)
i) “you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me”
(1) Hear the word of the Lord
(2) Warn them
(3) For God!
d) NT counterparts:
i) Acts 20:26,27 “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of
the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the
whole counsel of God”
ii) 20:30-31, “Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking
perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31
Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to
warn everyone night and day with tears.”

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Ezekiel – The Watchman and His Message
iii) 2 Timothy 4:5, “But you be watchful in all things”
iv) Hebrews 13:17, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for
they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them
do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for
you.”
2) The watchman’s message (33:10-20)
a) God’s gracious invitation (33:10-11)
i) The condition of the people: “our transgressions and our sins lie upon
us” (10)
ii) The despair of the people: “and we pine away in them” (10)
(1) NASB: “and we are)rotting away in them”
(2) ESV: “we rot away because of them”
(3) NIV: “and we are wasting away because of them”
(4) A sense that their doom was sealed … nothing could be done!
iii) Is our situation hopeless? “how can we then live?”
iv) God still holds out His invitation of grace:
(1) The promise of the living God: “‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD”
(2) God does not delight in the death of the wicked: “I have no pleasure
in the death of the wicked”
(3) God’s desire: “that the wicked turn from his way and live”
(4) The command: “Turn, turn from your evil ways!”
(5) The reason: “why should you die, O house of Israel?”
(6) The remedy: “turn from his way and live”
v) NT counterpart:
(1) “*God+ desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of
the truth” (1 Tim 2:4)
(2) “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count
slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should
perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

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Ezekiel – The Watchman and His Message
b) The responsibility of the hearer (33:12-20)
i) Eschew self-righteousness
(1) Repentance in that dispensation meant a return to obedience to
Mosiac law!
(2) For the righteous one: “he trusts in his own righteousness and
commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered;
but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die”
(3) For the wicked: “if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and
right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has
stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity,
he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of his sins which he has
committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is
lawful and right; he shall surely live”
(4) Might say there is a principle that true repentance manifests itself in
good works! (Matthew 3:8, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of
repentance,”)
ii) The people object: (17-20) “The way of the Lord is not fair”
(1) I often times fall into the trap of unbelief – God is NOT fair!
(2) But God tells them (and us): “it is their way which is not fair!”
(3) God will judge fairly! “I will judge every one of you according to his
own ways”
3) The watchman’s liberty (33:21-33)
a) The fall of Jerusalem (33:21-22)
i) A confirmation of all of his prophecies (January 585 bc)
ii) “And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth
month, on the fifth day of the month, that one who had escaped from
Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has been captured!””
iii) Now mouth opened: “I was no longer mute”

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Ezekiel – The Watchman and His Message
b) The Cause of Judah’s Ruin (33:23-29)
i) Meanwhile back in Israel – a remnant living among the ruins are
claiming the Abrahamic covenant – “Abraham was only one, and he
inherited the land. But we are many; the land has been given to us as a
possession.”
ii) Indictment: “You eat meat with blood, you lift up your eyes toward your
idols, and shed blood. Should you then possess the land? 26 You rely on
your sword, you commit abominations, and you defile one another’s
wives. Should you then possess the land?”
iii) God’s “clean up” activity: “As I live, surely those who are in the ruins
shall fall by the sword, and the one who is in the open field I will give to
the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in the strongholds and
caves shall die of the pestilence. 28 For I will make the land most
desolate, her arrogant strength shall cease, and the mountains of Israel
shall be so desolate that no one will pass through. 29 Then they shall
know that I am the LORD, when I have made the land most desolate
because of all their abominations which they have committed”
c) The picture of hearing but not doing (33:30-33)
i) Ezekiel now the “talk of the town”: “the children of your people are
talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and
they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come
and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.’”
ii) An outward eagerness: “Please come and hear what the word is that
comes from the LORD.’”
iii) Outwardly accepting …. Inwardly rebelling: “for with their mouth they
show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain”
iv) They view Ezekiel like a performance: “you are to them as a very lovely
song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an
instrument”
v) Conclusion: “for they hear your words, but they do not do them”
vi) God’s promise: in time they would come to know that “that a prophet
has been among them”
vii) NT perspective: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only,
deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22)

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