FIVE KINDS OF PEOPLE
Within the nation of Israel, there were the priests, the kings, the prophets, the elders, and the people. This long record of twenty-three chapters covers these five kinds of people.
According to Ezekiel 22:26 the priests violated the Word of God and profaned the holy things. They made no distinction between the holy and the profane, between the unclean and the clean. The Lord was profaned among them. Because they did not minister the proper Word of God, they cheated and robbed the people. They did violence to the Lord’s Word. Some teachers today in Christianity minister the Lord’s Word in a violent way, cheating and fooling the people by the wrong use of the Word.
Ezekiel 22:27 says that the princes, the kings, were in the midst of the land like wolves ravening the prey, shedding blood, and destroying souls for dishonest gain. They were anxious to grasp something for their own gain.
The prophets, according to Ezekiel 22:25, were like roaring lions devouring souls. They took the treasure and the precious things, causing many to be widows. Like foxes in the desert, they loved to hide and live in a desolate place. It is difficult for a fox to live in a proper house. But when a house is desolate, foxes come in. The Lord condemned the prophets because they would not fill up the gap and make up the hedge during the time of the battle. This parallels today’s situation when few Christians are willing to stand in the gap for the Lord’s recovery and for the Lord’s interest.
During Ezekiel’s time, there were false prophets who prophesied according to their own hearts. Ezekiel used a parable to describe their manner of prophesying. He said that it was like daubing the walls with untempered mortar (22:28). What does it mean to use untempered mortar? Mortar is made from lime and must be thoroughly saturated with water before it is applied to a wall. This will give properly tempered mortar. If the mortar is not thoroughly saturated with water before it is applied to the wall, a rain will wash it away and the wall will crumble. The meaning of this parable is that many prophets ministered the Word of God, but not in a properly tempered way. They were not fully saturated with the Holy Spirit and not fully soaked with the experience of life. Many preachers and teachers today are simply daubing with untempered mortar. They may give a good sermon, but when a storm comes, it is washed away like untempered mortar. A word which is fully saturated with the Spirit and with the experience of life is absolutely different. When such a word is ministered, it will strengthen God’s people to withstand whatever storms may come. We need teaching that is saturated with the Spirit and soaked with the proper experience of life. This is not a matter of eloquence or a word that is pleasant to the ear. It must be real, solid, and thoroughly saturated with the Holy Spirit. This kind of word will protect, strengthen, build together, and cause us to stand against any kind of storm.
An even poorer situation existed among the daughters of the people (13:17). They not only prophesied falsely, they also prophesied when, in fact, the Lord had not spoken. Even today, this kind of prophesying occurs frequently. Many people have said, "Thus saith the Lord," but the Lord did not speak. For example, a number of people have prophesied that Los Angeles will fall into the ocean. Some even predicted the exact date, but Los Angeles is still here. This means that they said, "Thus saith the Lord," but the Lord never said that. Such false prophecies are exposed and terminated when they are not fulfilled.
The women in Ezekiel were not only prophesying falsely, but they were also practicing superstition and witchcraft. For example, they sewed on a magic band, an amulet as a superstitious protection from the demons and the Devil. They even sewed veils to hunt people. Likewise, today some pastors and preachers speak in a superstitious way, to comfort people in a false way, not according to the truth.
The Lord said that the elders had set up idols in their hearts (14:1-3), and yet they came to inquire of Him. The Lord would not be inquired of by them because of the idols in their hearts. They were not honest with the Lord. Furthermore, they were ravening and robbing, taking others’ treasures into their own hands. Today’s situation is very much the same.
The people, according to Ezekiel 22:29-30, used oppression and exercised robbery. They vexed the poor and needy and they oppressed the stranger wrongfully. The Lord was unable to find any one among them who could make up the hedge and stand in the gap. The situation in today’s Christianity is very much the same. May the saints among us not be like these. May the Lord fully deliver us from the degraded situation in today’s Christianity.
(The Visions of Ezekiel, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)