“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.
“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)
“[…] You should know for a certainty that I have warned you today that your error will cost you your lives.”
After the Chaldeans took most of the Jews captive, the army chiefs along with the remaining people in the vicinity of Jerusalem asked the prophet to pray on their behalf and find out what God’s will for them was. (Jer. 42:1-3)
Ten days later, Jehovah gave his reply, asking them to remain there and not fear the king of Babylon. (Jer. 42:7,10,11)
But the people had allowed their fear to overcome them and were headstrong about fleeing to Egypt (Jer. 43:4-7)
Eventually, the Chaldeans extended their battles into Egypt, and that remnant did not survive (Jer. 43:10,11)
They were not necessarily evil people.
They mostly consisted of the poorest sector of the population. (Jer. 40:7)
The fact that they first sought out God’s guidance indicates that at least at one point they had the right intention. (Jer. 42:5,6)
But their subsequent decision to ignore Jehovah’s commandment and head on into Egypt without his blessing ended up having tragic consequences.
Today, God warns us that a time is coming in which he will judge all of humanity. (Mark 13:32,33; Acts 17:30,31)
If we were in the habit of praying for his guidance and then ignoring Biblical counsel, we, too, would be falling in an error that will cost us our lives.
“‘We trust in Jehovah our God,’ is he not the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed […]?”
Hezekiah’s father, apostate King Ahaz, had littered Judah with pagan altars and had closed the doors of the temple in Jerusalem. (2 Ch. 28:23-25)
Upon coming to the throne at age 25, Hezekiah reinstated divine worship according to Mosaic Law, celebrated a Passover to which even people from the northern tribes of Israel attended, and reorganized the Levite priesthood. (2 Ch. 29:1-5; 30:1-5)
The “high places and altars” Hezekiah had removed were not places of worship to his God, Jehovah, but to pagan deities.
The king of Assyria sent a messenger threatening Hezekiah to submit his people to Assyrian rule.
That messenger publicly accused Hezekiah of bringing down Jehovah’s altars, questioning whether Jehovah would save Jerusalem after the king’s recklessness.
It was unbeknownst to him that Hezekiah had actually been doing God’s will during his entire kingship and had no reason to fear Assyrian conquest.
We may sometimes experience similar accusations from our loved ones when we do something that is in line with Biblical principles but in conflict with what the world generally considers to be “good.”
For example, a woman studying the Bible may feel inclined to leave the man she is living with, although he may be a “good” man by the world’s standards, if he has no intention of legalizing their union.
She might receive severe criticism from her family or coworkers even though she is in fact doing the right thing. (1 Co. 7:39; 2 Co. 6:14)
Or a Christian man who abstains from celebrating holidays of pagan origin with his extended family may be accused of isolating himself and being intolerant of others, even though he is only trying to practice Christianity as it was originally practiced by first century Christians. (2 Co. 6:16,17)
There are many cases in which the stance of those trying to carry out God’s will may be misinterpreted.
We do well to avoid arguing and find solace in the satisfaction of having obeyed our conscience. (Is. 36:21)
Such a strong relationship with God gives us joy and the reassurance that he will never desert us. (Is. 35:10)
If you would like to view a (completely free) film reenacting the greatest trial of King Hezekiah’s faith, follow this link: https://tv.jw.org/#en/video/VODMovies/pub-tiy_x_VIDEO
You can toggle the language setting in the top right corner of the screen.
“As soon as I heard these words, I sat down and began to weep and mourn for days, and I kept fasting and praying before the God of the heavens.”
What were the words that caused the Persian king’s cup-bearer, Nehemiah, so much distress?
“The walls of Jerusalem are broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire,” (Neh. 1:3).
The Jews who had returned to the Holy City to rebuild it were not committing to their mission.
Nehemiah received this sad news in the Jewish month of Chislev (mid-November to mid-December) in what would have been the year 456 b.C.E.
He did not request leave from the king to go to Jerusalem and give fresh impulse to the reconstruction until four months later (Neh. 2:1).
Despite his worries, he “had never been gloomy” in the king’s presence.
From this we can learn two things:
Firstly, if our present circumstances do not allow us to serve Jehovah our God to the extent we desire, we can pray to Him for guidance and ask him to bless our efforts to make better use of our time.
Secondly, until we are able to fix our work or personal circumstances to permit greater service, we can face each day with cheer, knowing that we “do all things for God’s glory,” (1 Cor. 10:31).
Solomon also brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the City of David to the house that he had built for her, for he said: “Although she is my wife, she should not dwell in the house of King David of Israel, for the places to which the Ark of Jehovah has come are holy.”
~2 Chronicles 8:11
At the beginning of his reign, King Solomon had a clear view of how to keep true worship uncontaminated from false religion.
He understood that his wife’s traditions were not just incompatible with Mosaic Law, but they diametrically opposed it.
At the risk of offending her, he removed her from within the Holy City and built her a separate house next to his own.
We should also hold true worship in high esteem and avoid contaminating it with antibiblical traditions, even when this may stress close relationships (Matt. 10:36,37; 2 Co. 6:14).