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Ezekiel

God appoints Ezekiel as a watchmen.  Eze.33.1-9 - Eze.3.16-21

1THESE WERE THE WORDS OF THE LORD TO ME: 2Man, say to your fellow-countrymen, When I set armies in motion against a land, its people choose one of themselves to be a watchman. 3When he sees the enemy approaching and blows his trumpet to warn the people, 4then if anyone does not heed the warning and is overtaken by the enemy, he is responsible for his own fate. 5He is responsible because, when he heard the alarm, he paid no heed to it; if he had heeded it, he would have escaped. 6But if the watchman does not blow his trumpet or warn the people when he sees the enemy approaching, then any man who is killed is caught with all his sins upon him; but I will hold the watchman answerable for his death.

7Man, I have appointed you a watchman for the Israelites. You will take messages from me and carry my warnings to them. 8It may be that I pronounce sentence of death on a man because he is wicked; if you do not warn him to give up his ways, the guilt is his and because of his wickedness he shall die, but I will hold you answerable for his death. 9But if you have warned him to give up his ways, and he has not given them up, he will die because of his wickedness, but you will have saved yourself.

Inidividual responsibility.  Eze.33.10-20

10Man, say to the Israelites, You complain, 'We are burdened by our sins and offences; we are pining away because of them; we despair of life.' 11So tell them: As I live, says the Lord GOD, I have no desire for the death of the wicked. I would rather that a wicked man should mend his ways and live. Give up your evil ways, give them up; O Israelites, why should you die?

12Man, say to your fellow-countrymen, When a righteous man goes wrong, his righteousness shall not save him. When a wicked man mends his ways, his former wickedness shall not bring him down. When a righteous man sins, all his righteousness cannot save his life. 13It may be that, when I tell the righteous man that he will save his life, he presumes on his righteousness and does wrong; then none of his righteous acts will be remembered: he will die for the wrong he has done. 14It may be that when I pronounce sentence of death on the wicked, he mends his ways and does what is just and right: 15if he then restores the pledges he has taken, repays what he has stolen, and, doing no more wrong, follows the rules that ensure life, he shall live and not die. 16None of the sins he has committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live, because he does what is just and right.

17Your fellow-countrymen are saying, 'The Lord acts without principle', but it is their ways that are unprincipled. 18When a righteous man gives up his righteousness and does wrong, he shall die because of it; 19and when a wicked man gives up his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live. 20How, Israel, can you say that the Lord acts without principle, when I judge every man of you on his deeds?

News of the fall of Jerusalem.  Eze.33.21-22

21On the fifth day of the tenth month in the twelfth year of our captivity, fugitives came to me from Jerusalem and told me that the city had fallen. 22The evening before they arrived, the hand of the LORD had come upon me, and by the time they reached me in the morning the LORD had given me back my speech. My speech was restored and I was no longer dumb.

The sins of the people.  Eze.33.23-29

23These were the words of the LORD to me: 24Man, the inhabitants of these wastes on the soil of Israel say, 'When Abraham took possession of the land he was but one; now we are many, and the land has been granted to us in possession.' 25Tell them, therefore, that these are the words of the Lord GOD: You eat meat with the blood in it, you lift up your eyes to idols, you shed Or pour out blood; and yet you expect to possess the land! 26You trust to the sword, you commit abominations, you defile one another's wives; and you expect to possess the land! 27Tell them that these are the words of the Lord GOD: As I live, among the ruins they shall fall by the sword; in the open country I will give them for food to beasts; in dens and caves they shall die by pestilence. 28I will make the land a desolate waste; her boasted might shall be brought to nothing, and the mountains of Israel shall be an untrodden desert. 29When I make the land a desolate waste because of all the abominations they have committed, they will know that I am the LORD.

Prophecy fulfilled.  Exe.33.30-33

30Man, your fellow-countrymen gather in groups and talk of you under walls and in doorways and say to one another, 'Let us go and see what message there is from the LORD.' 31So my people will come crowding in, as people do, and sit down in front of you. They will hear what you have to say, but they will not do it. 'Fine words!' Fine words: or Love songs they will say, but their hearts are set on selfish gain. 32You are no more to them than a singer of fine songs fine songs: or love songs with a lovely voice, or a clever harpist; they will listen to what you say but will certainly not do it. 33But when it comes, as come it will, they will know that there has been a prophet in their midst.


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