Monday, October 22, 2012

Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 6-9 and John 10:19-42

Ezekiel 6 – The Word of God comes to Ezekiel, and addresses him as “Son of Man.” He is told he should prophesy against the “mountains” of Israel. They are the “high places” where idols like “sun images” are worshipped and human sacrifices (I think) are practiced by an unfaithful people.

God will punish the people for this but some will be spared and they will be scattered. Then after this time and this devastation, the people will “remember” Yahweh and will understand that He is “Lord.”

Ezekiel 7 – People will be judged in the “end” by their “ways” – their practices. They will have to suffer the “retribution” of the Lord for their rebellion and will need to realize that “Yahweh is Lord” of all that is.

Their wealth shall be discarded as unimportant and “worthless.” They will see that these outward things are simply a source of vanity and pride. They are ultimately unimportant.

Ezekiel 8 – In 592 BC, Ezekiel again feels the “hand of the Lord Yahweh” on him. He sees what seems to be “a man,” but below his loins he is “fire” and upward of his loins he shines “like polished bronze” (8:2).

He takes Ezekiel (it seems) by the hair and lifts him into the air. In visions he takes him to Jerusalem, to the north gate, where an idol (Jealousy) has been erected. God says they are driving him out of His sanctuary.

Then God takes him to the entrance to the court and has him break through the wall where he sees all kinds of images on the walls. The elders of the House of Israel are offering incense. Women are “weeping for Tammuz (Adonis), and men are bowing to the Sun. The Lord is furious and ready to punish them all.

Ezekiel 9 – Getting ready to bring His wrath down on the city, he assembles “six men” – agents of his wrath: the man in the middle is “in white, with a scribe’s ink horn in his belt” (9:2). He is to go through the city and “mark a cross on the foreheads of all who deplore and disapprove of all the filth” in the city (9:4); they are to be saved.

Everyone else is to be killed – men, women, children (??). When they go, Ezekiel stays behind, falls down and questions the Lord. The unfaithful say that they think Yahweh cannot see or does not care what they are doing, but the prophet is told that his vengeance will show them otherwise.

John 10:19-42 - At the festival of the Dedication [Hanukkah], Jesus goes to the temple. The Jews gather around him and ask him how much longer Jesus is going to keep them in suspense about whether or not he is the Messiah (10:24). He tells them that “the works I do in my Father’s name are my witness; but you do not believe, because you are no sheep of mine” (10:26). And he again repeats that his sheep know his voice.

When Jesus says, “the Father and I are one” (10:30), the Jews get ready to stone him.  He argues again to them about how his “works” show who he is, but they are offended by his “words” – words that seem blasphemous to them.

Jesus makes a rabbinical argument in his defense. He says, “Is it not written in you Law: I said, you are gods? So the Law uses the word gods of those to whom the world of God was addressed, and scripture cannot be rejected. Yet you say to someone the Father has consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming’, because he says, ‘I am the Son of God’” (10:34-36).   His argument is that the magistrates of the Law are referred to as “gods” in the Scriptures because they applied the Law of God to everyday situations. So if they could be called “gods” [God’s agents] then certainly it is not blasphemous for one sent by God to be his Son in the world to make this claim. But the crowd is incensed when he says “that the Father is in me and I in him” (10:31-42). Still, he eludes them.

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