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Oct 11, 2018

Yesterday in the last chapter of 2nd Chronicles, we heard of the quick succession of the kings of Judah at the very end before the exile to Babylon: Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. And after the fall of Jerusalem, chapter 36 also told of the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy about Cyrus, who gave the decree to rebuild the Temple of God. While Jeremiah prophesied about the fall of Babylon and specified the 70 year duration of the exile, it was Isaiah who mentioned King Cyrus by name— one of the most stunning of all prophecies.

Ezekiel was not only a prophet, but also a priest. When he was 25 years old, he was carried into exile in Babylon along with the upper class of people in 597 BC. Ezekiel was no doubt a pupil of Jeremiah before Ezekiel was taken into exile. The 48 chapters of this book are divided right in the middle.

*1-24 Pre-siege, prophecies about the destruction of Jerusalem.

*The second half can also be divided into two parts: Chapters 25-32 talk about after the fall of Jerusalem, prophecies dealing with the punishment of Judah’s enemies.

*33-48 Prophecies about the restoration of Judah.

Ezekiel is a book that is highly important for understanding the book of Revelation in the New Testament, because things that Ezekiel saw, John also saw.

In this book Solomon extols how wonderful love is. This may be a series of wedding songs. (And Solomon needed such songs frequently!) The main question is: Is this book merely a series of songs calling for sexual faithfulness to one’s spouse? The well-known allegorical interpretation goes back at least to the Puritan period, but probably much farther to the church fathers. However, it seems to me that making this about Christ and the church is a bit forced. Certainly Solomon would not have written this with Christ and the church in mind. However it is possible that the Holy Spirit inspired Solomon to write things with allegorical meanings beyond his own understanding.

Yesterday we heard the first part of Jesus’ invective against the Pharisees and teachers of religious law. Jesus told the truth. In a way, it was a loving act— to warn them. He already knew that these were the very men who would crucify him.