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Chinese10/8/2006English
經文:以西結書第十六、十七章
鑰節:「……我耶和華如此說也如此行了。」(17:24)
提要

        以西結十六章用擬人的比喻法,強烈譴責耶路撒冷的罪惡,措詞之強烈,遠超過從前的描述。藉此比方,上帝要流亡者知道,耶路撒冷犯下的是何等嚴重的罪過,應受此毀城之災。然而,他們要因上帝公正的判決而心得安慰(16:54;參14:22~23)。

        在她出世時,曾被異邦的父母輕視,扔在野地不管(16:4-5)。她沒有什麼可吸引人的,但上帝動了慈心、憐憫她。後來,上帝揀選她與她訂下婚盟(16:8)。因著上帝的引導,大衛王驅逐異教居民,把約櫃迎回錫安山,上帝就設立此城為其名的居所。上帝潔淨了祂的王后--耶路撒冷。上帝使她變得美麗、尊榮、富有,在所羅門統治期間達到最高峰(16:9~14)。在上帝為她做成了這一切之後,她變得很驕傲,對其丈夫--上帝不尊重、不忠實。

        她不只是個淫蕩的妻子,簡直就是個大妓女--到處拜外邦的神祇。她非常褻瀆地把上帝給她的東西供奉給偶像,更甚的是,竟把上帝賜給她的子女獻出祭給偶像(16:20~21、36;20:26、31;23:37;王下21:6;利18:21;20:2下;申12:31)。驕傲的耶路撒冷比她的異教姊妹更敗壞(即鄰邦諸國,16:46~52)。耶路撒冷是絕無法從她荒唐淫蕩的行為中得到滿足的,唯一的滿足只有在她的丈夫--上帝身上才可找到。婚姻是一種盟約的關係,只有在配偶死亡時才能解除的。這就是為什麼舊約對那些破壞婚約的淫亂行為,要處以死刑的嚴厲處分。從耶路撒冷這幅圖畫,人們可以了解到,得罪上帝的嚴重性以及刑罰的公正性。

        在刑罰過後,上帝應許要記念那個盟約,祂也要施予恩典和慈愛。祂要把她從被擄之地領回(16:53),並要重建她(參賽54:6~8)。所謂的「永約」,是指上帝要與新娘耶路撒冷重立的約,而這個被洗淨的聖城,將永遠降服在祂面前。她將接納所有的邦國來到她那裡,因為耶穌的寶血,這些外邦人也得進入這個新約中。

        十七章的比喻,重新說明了耶路撒冷要毀滅的原因,以及西底家必要被俘。以西結用謎語的形式,讓百姓重思,上帝的審判會臨到不是沒有原因的。不過百姓猜不出來,以西結只好解答(17:12)。第一隻鷹是指尼布甲尼撒,他來把約雅斤(香柏樹)移植在巴比倫。尼布甲尼撒扶立一個傀儡王西底家給猶大人民,使他奉上帝的名發誓會臣服於巴比倫。如此一來,猶大人才得以存活。奉上帝的名發誓是一件極嚴肅的事,若背了誓言是要受懲罰的(17:15;參傳5:2~6;民30:2)。但西底家毀了與尼布甲尼撒所立的約,又去尋求埃及法老王(第二隻鷹)的幫助,以背叛巴比倫,因而嚴重得罪了上帝(17:7;歷史背景請參:王下24:8~20;25:5-7;耶37:5~10;52:1~11)。

        以西結的預言不但很快應驗--例如西底家的背信和被俘,他預言了彌賽亞主耶穌將被高舉(17:20~24)。上帝要保守以色列香柏樹上的嫩枝(耶穌基督),祂要使驕傲的樹枯乾,藉著耶穌基督又使它發旺,使大衛的王朝永遠堅定(王下7:16;賽11:53)在彌賽亞王國中(大能的蔭下),各種的人(各類飛鳥),都必享平安和護庇,地上的各族(田野的樹木),都必知道祂是萬主之主。

禱告

        主啊!感謝您!您的威榮彰顯於全地各類受造物。求您讓每一個享受大自然您的造物之人,都可以認識尊崇您。奉主耶穌基督的名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Ezekiel 16 &17
Key Verse:"... I, the Lord, have spoken and have done it."(Ezekiel 17:24)
Overview

        The allegory of the sin and consequent rejection of the personified Jerusalem, found in Ezekiel 16, is a rebuke in stronger terms than anything that had been previously written; but how can one describe sin without using strong terms. Through this allegory, the Lord wanted the exiles to understand the gross atrocities of Jerusalem, and He wanted to show that her destruction was well deserved. Thus they would be comforted to know that the justice of the Lord had been executed (16:54; cf. 14:22-23).

        In her infancy, Jerusalem had been scorned and left to die of exposure by her heathen parents (16:4-5; infanticide was practiced by the pagans, but forbidden for the people of Israel). There was nothing attractive about her, but the Lord had compassion and showed her His mercy. As time went on, the Lord graciously chose her to enter into the marriage covenant with Him (16:8). Jerusalem was the city in the Promised Land where the Lord chose to put His name; this was accomplished under God's guidance when David threw out the heathen inhabitants, made it his capital, and moved the Ark of the covenant to Mount Zion. The Lord cleansed His queen, Jerusalem. He made her beautiful and bestowed honour and riches upon her (16:9-14), which reached its peak under the reign of Solomon. After all God had done for her, she became proud and proved to be ungrateful, disrespectful, and unfaithful to God, her husband.

        She was not only an adulterous wife but a brazen harlot who ran after many foreign gods. She defiantly offered to the idols the material things God had given her, but the greatest atrocity was in sacrificing the children whom God had given her (16:20-21, 36; 20:26, 31; 23:37; 2 Kings 21:6; Lev. 18:21; 20:2ff; Deut. 12:31). The Lord stressed the fact that proud Jerusalem was worse than her heathen sisters (the surrounding nations; 16:46-52). In her wanton behaviour, Jerusalem never found satisfaction (16:28-29); the only place where true satisfaction could be found was with her husband, the Lord. Marriage is a covenant relationship, instituted by the Lord, which demands that the partners be true and faithful to one another until death parts them. The Old Testament Law demanded the severe penalty of death for those guilty of adultery in breach of their covenant. With such a portrayal of Jerusalem, the people could understand the seriousness of her offences against God and the justice in her destruction.

        After her humilation and the period required for her punishment, the Lord promised to remember the covenant He had with Jerusalem, and He would once again show her His grace and mercy. He promised to bring back her captives (16:53) and restore her (cf. Is. 54:6-8). The "everlasting covenant" is the covenant that the Lord will establish with the New Jerusalem, and it will be in this cleansed and truly holy city that Jerusalem will remain forever humble. She will welcome the heathen nations (her older and younger sisters) to come to her, not because of Jerusalem's covenant with God (16:61), but because those Gentiles had themselves entered into the New Covenant of Jesus' blood.

        In chapter 17, we find yet another allegory that gives a reason for the well deserved destruction of Jerusalem and for Zedekiah's captivity. Ezekiel made use of the popular method of riddles to get the people thinking so that they might come to understand that the Lord does not bring judgment without cause. Since they did not understand the riddle, the Lord told Ezekiel to explain it (17:12). The first eagle is Nebuchadnezzar, who transplanted Jehoiachin of the house of David (the tall cedar) in Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar provided for the people of Judah and he set up a vassal king, Zedekiah, who took an oath (made a covenant) in the name of the Lord to be subservient to Bayblon, for only then would Judah live and thrive, as Jeremiah had stressed. An oath taken in the name of God was a very serious and binding agreement for which punishment was due if broken (17:15; cf. Ecc. 5:2-6; Num. 30:2). Zedekiah sinned against the Lord when he broke the covenant with Nebuchadnezzar by rebelling and looking in vain for help from the second great eagle, the Egyptian Pharoah (17:7, 17; historical background for the events of this chapter are recorded in 2 Kings 24:8-20; 25:5-7; Jer. 37:5-10; 52:1-11).

        As well as prophesying events that were to be fulfilled very soon, such as Zedekiah's treason and capture (17:20-21), Ezekiel also prophesied of the exaltation of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus (17:22-24). The Lord preserved the tender twig (Jesus Christ) from the high cedar of the house of David. He dried up that proud tree, but then through Jesus He made it flourish again, thus establishing the enduring Davidic dynasty, just as He had promised David (2 Sam. 7:16; Isa. 11:1; 53:2). In the Messiah's kingdom (under His mighty boughs) all kinds of people ("birds of every sort") will find safety and refuge, and every family on earth ("all the trees of the field") will know that He is Lord of all.

Prayer

        Thank You, Lord, that You reveal Your majesty and splendour so beautifully in the earth and in all Your creation. We pray that many will come to know You personally as they enjoy nature and all the works of Your hands.


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