Ezekiel’s Numbers

or Wandering Stars – 2


“Egypt, Judah, Edom, the people of Ammon, Moab, and all who are in the farthest corners, who dwell in the wilderness. For all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.” -  Jeremiah 9:26

Reading through the Old Testament as a young Christian, I always felt the Bible got bogged down when the Lord started pronouncing judgments upon nations other than Israel. For starters, I hadn’t paid enough attention earlier to remember who these sovereign states were. And more to the point, wasn’t God losing the plot a bit? I mean, there were plenty of other peoples during these times which aren’t even mentioned in the Bible at all.

Unfortunately, few commentators take the Bible seriously enough to understand what is actually going on. Older books will fill you in on the background, which is certainly helpful. But the big question is Why is God doing this now?, both now in history and now in the prophet I am reading?

As usual, when the structure and context of things is understood, seemingly boring “classic” texts suddenly come to life. In the case of the prophets it is a consuming fire.

At the centre of the book of Ezekiel are judgments upon seven nations. If you’ve read anything around here, that should immediately make you suspicious.

David Chilton’s Revelation commentary observes that Revelation and Ezekiel are “level-pegged.” Although they are wildly different, they contain similar themes in a similar order. This is because they are Covenant lawsuits that use the Law of God as a sword to bring death and resurrection. A New Covenant is a New Creation, and so they also follow the structure of the Creation week.

On old, worn out Covenant is a one that has been abused. God’s people, over time, have lost the faith that allowed Him to exalt them and turned to their own methods. This always makes His kingdom into a replica of Egypt, a fertile garden that has become a place of exploitation.

Ezekiel follows the pattern of the first seven books of the Bible, which also find their origin in the Creation week.

This gives us the key to understanding the judgments upon these seven nations. At the centre of the Creation week are the rulers of heaven. In the Revelation, we have the enthroned Christ (true Adam) at the end of chapter 11, and the Church (true Eve) and the dragon (the real beast) at the beginning of 12; rulers at the centre of the book. The centre of the Bible Matrix is always Testing. It is Adam versus the serpent, Cain versus the sin crouching at the door. Both were commanded to rule. Both failed.

The book in the centre of Genesis to Judges is Numbers, and it is the key to Ezekiel 25-32. Numbers is the Law applied to Israel. It is a whole book of Pentecostal fire. Israel dies under the Law and is “resurrected” in Deuteronomy. God used Canaanite nations to test Israel.

Judgment begins at the house of God

Now, Ezekiel begins with a vision of the Lord’s chariot (Transcendence) and He delegates His authority to the prophet (Hierarchy). Ezekiel symbolically dies and is resurrected, as all prophets are before they can carry out the same pattern on God’s people.

So, from the throne, the Word moves out into the people of God. The Temple and the city are judged in a horrific, ironic Passover rite. Then, the Lord turns to the nations around Israel.

It is extremely interesting that even this list of seven nations is sort of genealogical. It begins with those who were the closest relatives to Israel and works its way outward, like a seismic shock. Not only does the list seem to follow the Creation/Tabernacle pattern, it is also chronological:

Ammon: Son of Lot – Israel was not to take their Land [1]
…..Moab: Son of Lot – Balaam caused Israel to
…..sin with Moabite women (false bride)
……….Edom: Line of Esau – false priest. Refused to feed
……….Israel in the wilderness (and Doeg the Edomite slew the
……….priests who fed David the facebread)
……………Philistia: Sons of Egypt – serpent/ruler at
……………the centre (David/Goliath)
……….Tyre: City of King Hiram – riches (Solomon)
…..Sidon: Sister of Tyre – false bride (Jezebel)
Egypt: A false rest, a false hope.

These are all Canaanite nations, although the first three became Canaanites by choice. They were false brothers, false Adams. The next three were false Eves, Gentile bride-cities that were to be brought under Covenant. Philistia, at the centre and picturing the serpent, is noticeably a different story. Philistia was iron sharpening iron, always revolving around the sword.

Historically it seems to work from the situation in the book of Judges to the end state of Solomon’s kings. The nation of the wise judge was in the same predicament.

One of the curses in Deuteronomy was that the Lord would take Israel back to Egypt in ships. This did not occur under Babylon. It did occur under Rome, when General Titus took the brightest and best of the survivors of the siege and sold them as slaves. They were transported to Egypt in ships.

It did happen figuratively here, I guess. Hiram’s city, like Solomon’s, was a “Jeru-Salem,” a city of peace. Tyre was a port of trade, never at war. Hiram, King of Tyre, was a believer who helped Solomon to build his Temple. Notice that Tyre is number 5 in the list, the place where we find plunder and/or believing Gentiles. Here, the plunder has become a plague. The precious metals and stones have corrupted the kingdom. Instead of living water flowing from Solomon’s Eden, the Garden was opened to false gods by unfaithful Adams. It was now Wormwood that flowed out into the nations. Solomon’s lust for gold indeed carried his people to Egypt in ships.

Next comes Sidon, home of Jezebel. She imported Baalism into Israel and slew God’s prophets. Her husband Ahab was Solomon’s evil twin, a temple builder. The Adam builds the house and the Eve fills it. Jezebel certainly filled those temples, but it was not with the Spirit of God.

But we have a Prince of Tyre and a King of Tyre. And the destruction pronounced upon Tyre didn’t actually come to pass. Ezekiel even notes this a few chapters later. Nebuchadnezzar beseiged Tyre but could not plunder it. So what’s the deal?

Sticks and Stones

James Jordan notes that the king, the Adam in the paradise of God, is making a mockery of the High Priest. So the Prince of Tyre is the corrupted kingdom of Israel and the King of Tyre is the corrupt priesthood. Queen Sidon is the religious system. These three people are institutions. We have the same setup in Revelation, but it is the Land Beast (666) who is the Jewish king, the False Prophet the High Priest, and the Harlot the religious system.

The deal is that the prophet is name-calling. His message is for the rulers of Israel who have imaged these Gentile nations instead of imaging the Lord of the Covenant to them. The only reason these nations are judged is because they are under the Covenant. Like the mighty men in Genesis 6, intermarriage with the sons of God has not only corrupted the true worship, it has parasitically preserved these nations from the early fruits of their sins. [2] (If you have read Bible Matrix, you will know that these mighty men were the ungodly rulers, the den of vipers, at the centre of the Adam-to-Noah pattern.)

Finally comes Egypt. Step seven is about rest, about partying with Gentiles and new rivers flowing out into the world from a faithful mountain in Eden. Ezekiel is referring to Pharaoh in an obvious sense, because Judah’s kings were looking to Egypt for shelter — a Tabernacle — from the invasions of Nebuchadnezzar.

But you might keep on saying, “We won’t stay here in Judah, and we won’t obey the LORD our God. We are going to Egypt, where there is plenty of food and no danger of war.” People of Judah, you survived when the Babylonian army attacked. Now you are planning to move to Egypt, and if you do go, this is what will happen. You are afraid of war, starvation, and disease here in Judah, but they will follow you to Egypt and kill you there. None of you will survive the disasters I will send. (Jeremiah 42:13-17 CEV)

But God would take this serpent from his river and throw him onto the Land — with all his parasitic fish. So Zeke is really calling the Davidic King a snake. He is just as bad as Pharaoh, a “king like the Gentiles.” The Covenant people would go to the pit, die the death of the uncircumcised, and the serpent’s body would be under the Covenant curse — food for the birds and the beasts.

He is like Nathan, telling a story about a “third party” sinner and then saying “Thou are the man.” The slavery and oppressive taxation would come to an end, and the Land would indeed be given Sabbath rest.

Desertward Ho

Now, the big theme of Numbers is harlotry. Numbers 5 has the (possibly) unfaithful bride drinking a cup full of sword-water. God’s Word is to be put inside her to bring judgment, to arbitrate in this matter. What is really interesting is that all these nations (and a few more) are mentioned in Jeremiah 25. God was going to make them all drink the wine of His wrath, with Nebuchadnezzar as His cupbearer. And then, of course, He would make Babylon herself drink the cup. They would all stagger and fall.

So, who was the harlot, Jezebel, in the first century? The system of Herodian worship centred in, and flowing from, Jerusalem. Jesus calls her filthy names: Egypt, Sodom, Babylon. She too would drink the cup. To back up this hypothesis, the structure of Ezekiel is exactly the same as the pattern in Jude. In Jude, it is the Judaisers who are the “intermarriers” with idolatry. They are of their father the devil, a murderer from the beginning. Their church is a false Eve. The “rulers of the earth” are more correctly the “kings of the Land.” Their carcasses, like those of their ancestors, would fall in the wilderness.

So the literary structure of Ezekiel looks like this:

Old Creation:
1 – Genesis: Vision of God
…..2 – Exodus: Jerusalem Passover
……….3 – Leviticus: Priesthood torn down
……………4 – Numbers:
……………….1 – Ammon
………………….2 – Moab
……………0……….3 – Edom
……………0………….:4 – Philistia
……………0……….5 – Tyre
………………….6 – Sidon
………………7 – Egypt (serpent killed)

New Creation:
……….5 – Deuteronomy: Israel-army next generation
…..6 – Joshua: Land reconquered (Mordecai and Esther)
7 – Judges: Restoration Temple: mediatorial nation

Just like the New Testament, God’s work is Jew – Gentile – Jew. His judgment begins at His house, works outward, then back in again. It builds a new house out of both Jew and Gentile. In the case of Ezekiel, it was a Temple that covered the entire empire, a building made of living stones.

[1] Ammon at the start might also be significant because it was the “seed” of Solomon’s destruction. David was supposed to be fighting Ammon when he committed harlotry with Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. He later did go out and fight and came back wearing the crown of Ammon. So, in this list, it is possibly Ammon as the “head of gold.” And the harlotry theme is continued in Balaam’s Moabite women. Ezekiel is Phinehas!
[2] See James Jordan’s The Nephilim Factor.

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