“[…] Set your heart and see with your eyes, and with your ears hear all that I am speaking with you regarding all the statutes of the house of Jehovah and regarding all its laws […].”
~Ezekiel 44:5, fn.
When Jehovah God asks us to ‘set our heart’ on his instructions, he is asking us to pay wholehearted attention.
We must listen to and obey God with the proper motivation- one born of our love toward him and a sincere desire to please him. (Matt. 22:37)
In Ezekiel’s day, the chieftains had been extorting the people of Israel through a feigned form of worship. (Eze. 45:9,10)
Through the prophetic vision God granted Ezekiel, we are given hope that it is plausible for a group of people to sincerely love God and carry out a united form of religious worship that is not hypocritical. (Eze. 43:9,27)
We must individually examine our own hearts to see if we meet God’s standards of pure worship. (Ps. 139:23,24)
“They will not need to take wood from the field or gather firewood from the forests because they will use the weapons to light fires. […]”
Will there be sustainable energy under God’s promised kingdom?
The Bible doesn’t give specific details.
What we do know is that Jehovah God does not like resources to be exploited nor go to waste. (Exo. 16:15-20; Isa. 2:4; Matt. 14:19,20)
If we implement sustainable living practices in our present life, it will be easy to transition into God’s way of doing things when he ‘opens his hand to satisfy the desire of every living thing.’ (Ps. 145:16)
“Like the flock of holy ones, like the flock of Jerusalem during her festivals, the cities that were in ruins will become full of flocks of people; and they will have to know that I am Jehovah.”
God prophesied that in the last days, the knowledge of his truth would become abundant. (Dan. 12:4)
Although the observation of holidays as mandated by Mosaic Law was ended with the institution of the Christian congregation, Christians still gather together in large cities to praise and learn about God, following a similar pattern to that in ancient Israel. (Gal. 3:24,25)
If you have not done so already, I invite you to attend one of the remaining free regional conventions programmed for this year nearest to where you live. The talks, videos and interviews given encourage us to never give up.
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says:’Here I am, and I myself will search for my sheep, and I will care for them.'”
As time proceeds deeper into the “last days,” Jehovah God actively looks for those who have strayed from the flock. (John 10:16; 2 Tim. 3:1-5)
Although Jehovah’s Witnesses’ worldwide preaching work is primarily aimed at witnessing to non-believers, from time to time we run into a stray sheep who for one reason or another has seized associating with the congregation.
Because our work is headed by angels, we are able to find repentant brothers and sisters who recognize the times we are living in and ask for help to return to Jehovah before it is too late. (Zep. 2:2,3; Rev. 14:6,7)
It is an undeserved honor to be allowed to collaborate with our kind heavenly Father in this soul saving work. (1 Cor. 3:9)
“I will cause a horn to sprout for the house of Israel,* and I will give you an opportunity to speak among them […].
*(endow the house of Israel with strength)”
The “horn” metaphor in this passage is meant to illustrate God giving strength to his people. (1 Sam. 2:10)
Although speaking God’s message is a privilege, there are times when we may feel tired and discouraged.
When we feel that way, we rely on God’s power which is “beyond what is normal” to fulfill our ministry. (2 Cor. 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:5)
We do so by praying to him for strength, following Christ’s cheerful example, and by leaving our problems in God’s hands. (1 Sam. 1:10, 18; Acts 20:35)
“I will take vengeance on Edom by the hand of my people Israel.”
Since most of Ezekiel’s prophecies were executed by Babylon’s army, how was this prophecy fulfilled?
Despite also being descendants of Abraham through Isaac, the people of Edom had demonstrated hatred toward the people of Israel throughout their history. (Ps. 137:7; Am. 1:11)
When Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and took the Jews captive, Edom was apparently an ally of Babylon. (Obad. 1, 7)
Some fifty years later, though, under the new Babylonian King Nabonidus, an army that included Jewish soldiers conquered Edom, thereby fulfilling the aforementioned prophecy. (Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. I. “Edom: Later History and Disappearance.”)
Edom did not survive as a nation. (Obad. 10)
How awe-inspiring it is to see Jehovah’s prophetic justice fulfilled.
“[…] You will be remembered no more, for I myself, Jehovah, have spoken.”
The Bible says Jehovah God has been writing the names of faithful ones in the “Book of Life” since the beginning of mankind, so to speak. (Rev. 17:8)
Various prophets including Moses, David, Malachi, John (the Apostle), Paul and Jesus himself made reference to this symbolic book. (Ex. 32:32,33; Ps. 69:28; Mal. 3:16; Luke 10:20; Php. 4:3; Rev. 3:5)
If our choices reflect a healthy fear of God, even if we die, he will keep us alive in his memory until the time of the resurrection. (Luke 20:37,38; John 5:28,29)
On the contrary, how sad it would be to die without any hope of returning to life because we have offended God to the point that he has completely wiped us out of his memory.
“‘As surely as I am alive,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘I will not respond to your inquiry.’”
Some people pray to God: “God, if you exist, please do [such and such]…”
But in the past, Jehovah has refused to answer the prayers of his own people because their form of worship has been offensive to him.
The Jews were prostrating themselves before stone and wooden idols and offering sacrifices to other gods. (Ez. 20:28-30)
By their actions, they were rejecting the laws that Jehovah had given them for their own benefit. (Ez. 20:13)
Jehovah refused to go along with their charade form of worship and his silence was the only answer their prayers received.
Today, God continues to try to teach us right from wrong for our own benefit. (Is. 48:17,18)
If we listen to his Word and act accordingly, praying in accordance with his will, we will be able to perceive how and when he answers our prayers. (Jas. 2:26; 1 John 5:14)
“This was the error of Sodom your sister: She and her daughters were proud and had an abundance of food and carefree tranquility; yet they did not support the afflicted and the poor.”
Why was Jerusalem, the Holy City, compared to Sodom?
Sodom had been notorious not only for its immoral practices, which Judeans now surpassed, but also for its hardheartedness. (Eze. 16:47,48,50)
Over a hundred years before Ezekiel, the prophet Isaiah had also compared the inhabitants of Jerusalem to Sodom and Gomorrah, which led to his execution (Isa. 1:10; Isaiah’s Prophecy I: “Let Us Set Matters Straight; footnote)
Jesus, referring to the inhabitants of his day who ignored the signs that he was the messiah, stated: “It will be more endurable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on Judgment Day than for that city.” (Matt. 10:11-15)
What about ourselves?
Do we respond to the Bible’s message with pride and hardheartedness?
As Christians, does our moral lifestyle include giving more of ourselves toward those who are spiritually, emotionally and physically in need? (Jas. 1:27)