There’s a saying in Ezekiel 11 about being meat in a cauldron; could we have more of an idea on what that refers to?

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There’s a saying in Ezekiel 11 about being meat in a cauldron; could we have more of an idea on what that refers to?

Post by Admin on Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:33 pm

The context for this section is actually the final years of the kingdom of Judah. The 10 northern tribes—the nation of Israel—had been overrun and sent into exile by the nation of Assyria in 722 BC. That left only Judah—the nation made up of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin—with the capitol city of Jerusalem (also where the Temple continued to exist). With Hezekiah ascending to the throne, Judah had a major revival as a nation, as Hezekiah was probably the most godly king they had after David. Unfortunately, the kings that followed Hezekiah—his son Manasseh and his grandson Amon—led Judah back to idol worship. However, Amon’s son Josiah, even though coming to the throne at only eight years of age, also sought the ways of the Lord as had King David. When he had been on the throne for about 10 years (about 630 BC), he called for badly needed repairs to commence on the Temple. In the course of this work, a copy of the book of the law of Moses was found. As the people were once again confronted with God’s Word, revival again came across the land as the people sought to renew their covenant relationship with God. During the reign of Josiah, the prophet Jeremiah came on the scene. His was not a popular message. He warned of an impending judgment to come upon the people due to their national and personal sinfulness. This prophecy would come true through the nation of Babylon. Three times Babylon invaded Judah: (1) In 605 BC, following Babylon’s defeat of rivals Assyria and Egypt, Jerusalem was attacked by the forces of King Nebuchadnezzar; it was in this invasion that the prophet Daniel and his friends were exiled to Babylon. (2) In approximately 598/97 BC, Nebuchadnezzar returned, again exiling a portion of the population to Babylon (thought to be about 10,000 citizens); the prophet Ezekiel was removed to Babylon in this invasion. (3) Finally, the final invasion by Babylon in 586 BC which resulted in the complete destruction of Jerusalem, and the Temple being destroyed and burned to the ground.
Now, back to Ezekiel. His call to prophetic office occurred approximately five years after his arrival in Babylon, so about 593 BC, and he continued in that ministry for about 22 years. The section of Ezekiel we are looking at occurs in the period between the final two invasions—between about 597 BC (Ezekiel’s exile) and 586 BC (Judah’s fall and Jerusalem’s destruction). With the exile of many of Judah’s leading citizens (including political, civic and religious leaders), there was now a group of about 25 men who were, at some level, leading voices in Jerusalem that had the attention of the nation. But their voices have been dangerously wrong in their guidance, which is how chapter 11 opens: Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the gate of the house of the Lord that faces east. There at the entrance of the gate were twenty-five men, and I saw among them Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, leaders of the people. The Lord said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who are plotting evil and giving wicked advice in this city. They say, ‘Will it soon be time to build houses? This city is a cooking pot, and we are the meat.’ Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, son of man”—Ezekiel 11:1-4. God makes very clear in verse 2 that the advice that these men are proclaiming is wrong. Beyond that, their words are flying in the face of the prophetic words of Jeremiah, given him directly from the Lord: This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper”—Jeremiah 29:4-7. What’s the message? Establish your lives here in exile, in Babylon; this is going to be a while. Jeremiah had called upon those in exile to prepare for an extended stay in Babylon, and not to allow themselves to be deceived by the words of those who predicted a speedy return, for more judgments were on the way that would be impacting those still remaining in Judah. What is happening in Jerusalem at this time, from the leadership of the men, in God’s words, “plotting evil and giving wicked advice in this city,” is that they are ridiculing Jeremiah’s prediction of a long stay in exile; neither will Judah or Jerusalem be swallowed by the force of Nebuchadnezzar. On the contrary, as they so proudly proclaim, “This city is the cooking pot, and we are the meat.” In other words, Jerusalem is the pot and we, its remaining inhabitants, are the meat. The idea being promoted is that, as the pot protects the meat from burning, so does the city of Jerusalem protect us from destruction. This is expressing not only an incredibly misplaced confidence in the strength of Jerusalem, but it is also showing an amazing contempt and literally blasphemous disregard for the predictions of the prophets of God. Worst of all, their advice is confirming the people in their sins; everything about them, including their lifestyles, is OK.
God, through Ezekiel, will disagree, as the Lord proclaims His words: Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and he told me to say: “This is what the Lord says: That is what you are saying, O house of Israel, but I know what is going through your mind. You have killed many people in this city and filled its streets with the dead. Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: The bodies you have thrown there are the meat and this city is the pot, but I will drive you out of it. You fear the sword, and the sword is what I will bring against you, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will drive you out of the city and hand you over to foreigners and inflict punishment on you. You will fall by the sword, and I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord. This city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be the meat in it; I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. And you will know that I am the Lord, for you have not followed my decrees or kept my laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you”—Ezekiel 11:5-12. First of all, God strips away any pretense of secrecy or hidden agendas; as He says, “I know what is going through your mind.” He redefines the “meat in the pot”; contrary to their notions, the “meat” is many people they have killed—murdered—in Jerusalem and left in its streets. This makes Jerusalem not a pot of protection but rather a pot of destruction. But there will be no protection for this wicked, profane leadership; God will no longer allow them in Jerusalem but will “drive [them] out of the city and hand [them] over to foreigners and inflict punishment on [them]. They will experience their punishment “at the borders of Israel.” And why? For the same reason that God always passed judgment on Israel—“you have not followed my decrees or kept my laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you.” And, in fact, this is exactly what happened; in fact, Jeremiah is the source of our information: The commander of the guard took as prisoners Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank and the three doorkeepers. Of those still in the city, he took the officer in charge of the fighting men, and seven royal advisers. He also took the secretary who was chief officer in charge of conscripting the people of the land and sixty of his men who were found in the city. Nebuzaradan the commander took them all and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed. So Judah went into captivity, away from her land—Jeremiah 52:24-27. And the rest of the story? Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the Lord, which he had consecrated in Jerusalem. The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor young woman, old man or aged. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah—II Chronicles 36:14-21. And what was it that the apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian church—centuries after the fall of the nation of Judah? Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life—Paul, Galatians 6:7-8. God’s Word, and His promised actions, do not change.

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